João Lourenço, who was speaking to journalists this Saturday after witnessing the restart of production at the textile unit, inaugurated in 1979 and now under the management of Zimbabwean BAOBAB COTTON GROUP, stressed that with private management, the "State no longer has expenses".
"All the investment to be made from now on, in raw materials and other types of investment, will be made by the management entity. The State not only stops investing, but also starts earning with taxes. The foreign currency will belong to the investor, but, obviously, it will be acquired here in Angola", stated the Head of State, when questioned by journalists.
The Zimbabwean company BAOBAB COTTON GROUP was the winner of the international public tender for the concession for the management of the factory unit, which will transform cotton into yarn and fabrics for multiple uses from sheets, bath towels, tablecloths and blankets.
The industrial unit foresees the creation of around 2200 direct jobs in three shifts, but in the first phase it has 175 workers who will simultaneously train another 150.
Questioned about the criteria for admission of personnel for África Têxtil, in the middle of a lack of jobs in the country, João Lourenço explained that the criteria were defined by the manager and cannot be imposed by the State.
"The employer has its criteria and we will let it have the freedom to select and train the working staff, so that it can get the most out of this large factory unit", he said.
According to João Lourenço, "not all the conditions for the unit are completely created" but, "the company has the minimum for its start-up", having assured that "what remains to be done will be done and the guidelines are given".
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Victor Fernandes, said that the start-up of África Têxtil is "part of the process of recovery and reactivation of public assets by the state.
"It is in line with the strategy of relaunching the textile industry and the cotton sector outlined under the executive's manufacturing industry program," he noted.
For the rehabilitation of África Têxtil, he explained, the State formalized with the Japanese company MAROBENI a contract worth about 420 million dollars, which included the development of the engineering project, recovery of the equipment and construction of the factory unit.
The unit has an installed capacity for the annual production of seven million bath towels and sheets.
"África Têxtil is a strategic project to leverage the development of the clothing sector and mainly to boost the resurgence of all the activities associated to the cotton production and with undeniable potential to export its finished product", assured Victor Fernandes.
The production "will be ensured, in a first phase, by the import of raw material for a year, after which it will be replaced by the domestic supply of raw material," he stressed.
The representative of BAOBAB COTTON GROUP, Laurence Miles, noted that the successful operation of the plant "is dependent on robust agricultural programs based on agricultural business activities that observe the best management practices.
"As an industry that feeds on raw materials from agriculture, this facility will require 1300 metric units of cotton fiber per month, which will provide opportunities for an additional 1500 small-scale farmers.
João Lourenço's agenda in Benguela this Saturday also included a period of audiences with local businessmen, religious leaders and members of civil society.