HARARE: State-run pension fund, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), says it is investing $18 million to revive struggling Cold Storage Company (CSC), with the deal expected to begin this year.
CSC, at one time the largest meat processor in Africa, handled up to 150,000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products a year and exporting beef to the European Union, where it had an annual quota of 9 100 tonnes of beef.
In its heyday, it used to earn Zimbabwe at least $45 million annually.
“NSSA’s investment in CSC is well on course. The authority, in line with its commitment to investing in national projects of a strategic nature such as agriculture and infrastructure, is working with Government to resuscitate the CSC during the course of the year,” NSSA chairman Robin Vela told journalists on Wednesday.
“Indicatively, US$15-18 million will be required. We believe that this will unlock value in the livestock industry through job creation, foreign currency earnings and increased contributions to the benefit of our contributors/pensioners and the economy at large. Progress in this regard is on course and further updates will be given in due course.”
CSC is currently saddled with a debt of over $25 million from $9 million in 2009, mainly from fixed costs such as wages, rates and taxes on land.
It owes its 413 employees $3,5 million in salary arrears.
The CSC is reportedly making an annual loss of $6 million, stretching over the past ten years.
The firm is now operating at less than 10 percent of its capacity, and its employment numbers have fallen from 1,500 in the 1990s.