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Waverley targets 15pc exports hike

Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Waverley Blankets is targeting a 15 percent increase in exports to regional markets on increased production as installation of a new $1, 5 million plant nears completion.

Currently, the manufacturing firm is exporting an estimated 5 percent of its total production to Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.

In an interview Waverley Blankets administration manager Doreen Eeson said plans were underway to grow exports to Mauritius and South Africa.

This is also in line with Government’s thrust on export-led economic growth.

According to the 2017 National Budget, the country’s overall export performance is expected to further decline by 6,9 percent to $3,3 billion.

Although production levels have been nearly stagnant at Waverley Blankets in the past three years, the company anticipates increased volumes in the near future subsequently driving exports.

“If Government gives us more export incentive, we can increase our exports to 20 percent from the current 5 percent.

“We have started to embark on huge export drive in the region, we want to grow exports to $6 million,” she said.

Operating at 33 percent production capacity, Waverley produces 6 000 blankets a week, a third of the 18 000 the firm should produce at full capacity.

Like any other local industry, Waverley Blankets is battling unfair competition from imports, erratic utilities supplies and the general challenging macro-economic environment, precipitated by cash shortages and low disposable income.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said Government will continue to support local industry and therefore called for more engagement with the relevant stakeholders.

He indicated this would also include other line ministries in the value chain to come up with measures that promote production and enhance local consumption.

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