By Fidelis Munyoro and Martin Kadzere
Government has called for the creation of a cigarette industry which fully embraces value-addition and beneficiation to realise better profits compared to selling unprocessed tobacco.
The successful empowerment of the tobacco sector at primary level has not translated to gains further down the value chain, where superior returns are being made by leaf merchants and cigarette manufacturers.
Speaking at the 15th anniversary and rebranding of Savanna Tobacco to Pacific Cigarette Company (PCC) yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the local industry has the responsibility of growing provisions of the Zim-Asset economic blueprint.
“Pacific, as a home grown indigenous Zimbabwean company, has taken ownership of its own destiny through investing in value-addition and beneficiation of the country’s cash crop,” he said.
“In so doing, it has employed hundreds, empowered thousands, inspired millions and has contributed to the fiscus, noted by increasing its excise tax payments by 33 percent from 2015 to 2016.Pacific Cigarette is no longer fighting foreign multi-nationals, it has become a multi-national itself. Pacific Cigarette is a shining example of what a wholly Zimbabwean company can and should do to employ hundreds, empower thousands and inspire millions.”
PCC executive chairman Mr Adam Molai said his company started implementing some provisions in Zim-Asset more than 10 years ago, before the document was crafted.
“We have so far achieved this quest through expanding our distribution and now manufacturing footprint into the region and also into all places,” he said.
“You will now find Pacific brands in Kingston and other areas of Jamaica. This has now facilitated the export of human and intellectual capital into other markets, allowing us to fish from the sea rather than our little pond of Zimbabwe.”
PCC Global chief executive Mr Nick Hales said the company registered a phenomenal growth in the local market share last year and had established a strong presence in export markets.
Before rebranding, the firm saw the market share of its brands growing by 65 percent, compared with the previous year and now enjoys 35 percent of the local market.