Africa Moyo recently in CHIPINGE
OLD Mutual says it will scale up investments in infrastructure development across the country as part of it’s investment policy.
Group chief executive officer Jonasi Mushosho said this during the commissioning of the 1.6MW Kupinga Hydro Power plant in Chipinge last year.
The power plant was financed to the tune of $5,7 million by Old Mutual. Mr Mushosho said Old Mutual has an investment philosophy dubbed “Response Business”, which ensures that shareholder and policyholder funds are invested in a “responsible maaner that improves the lives of the people and communities in which we operate”.
“Old Mutual continues to take keen interest in the infrastructure needs of the country. We believe infrastructure is a vital cog in any value chain system in the economy,” said Mr Mushosho.
The investment by Old Mutual into the Kupinga hydro power project comes together with the construction of a multi purpose hall at Sterksroom Secondary School, also in Chipinge.
The multi purpose hall gobbled $200 000. “We also installed a prolific borehole and water tank to ensure supply of safe drinking water and for other uses throughout the year.
“Temporary shelter was also provided to the school in form of containers that housed some of the equipment during the project’s tenure,” said Mr Mushosho.
Separately, Old Mutual employees have pooled $10 000 for the construction of the Saziya Clinic, again in Chipinge. The investments come at a time when Old Mutual has invested heavily in the construction of an imposing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) centre in central Harare.
The SMEs centre is expected to be completed by end of the first half of next year . Dubbed the Old Mutual SMEs Centre, the complex is situated diagonally opposite the Eastgate and is expected to house about 20 000 SMEs on completion.
Old Mutual says it decided to construct the complex after realising that the economy is largely becoming informal. The SMEs centre is specifically designed to meet the needs of the SME and informal sectors.
It is expected to be a first of its kind south of the Sahara. On completion, the project will have lettable space of 12 000 square metres, and bring relief to an estimated 20 000 traders who currently ply their trade at various informal sites across the country.
The Old Mutual SME Centre will have up to 2000 square metres of refrigeration space for farmers to help preserve their produce and consequently enhance their livelihoods.
The development is expected to not only improve the competitiveness of SMEs, but also enable them to meaningfully contribute to the development of Zimbabwe’s economy.
SMEs have become a centre for economic revival with the sector employing approximately 60 percent of the country’s active population.
Estimates have suggested that about $2 billion is circulating in the informal sector, making it crucial to broader economic development . Government has directed the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to ensure that SMEs become part of the mainstream economy by paying taxes.
Over 12 000 SMEs had registered for tax compliance by the June 30, 2017 set by Government. Old Mutual has also invested in low a incoming housing project in Budiriro, Harare.
Mr Mushosho said their investment in housing driven by the desire to reduce the “national housing demands”. “. . . we are certain that the (housing) backlog will be greatly reduced,” he said.
Old Mutual has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1895.