Parliament has called on Treasury and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to expedite the revival of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZiscoSteel).
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda recently said the nation is expecting a “time-bound” resuscitation of the steel-maker and blasted Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa for making a perfunctory reference to ZiscoSteel in his 2017 National Budget Statement.
“It is disappointing that in his 2017 National Budget speech in Parliament, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, at paragraph 91 of his speech, made a cursory mention of the resuscitation of ZiscoSteel Company.
“It is my fervent belief that the steel industry is the hub of accelerated industrial development in our country. The nation was expecting a more pointed and time bound resuscitation of the ZiscoSteel company which would guarantee efficient and sufficient steel production necessary for the up-scaling of our foundry industries and other downstream manufacturing entities,” said Advocate Mudenda.
ZiscoSteel, located just outside Kwekwe became defunct after a string of operational problems. By early 2008, the company was producing less than 12 500 tonnes, way below the break-even capacity of 25 000 tonnes and was shut down later that same year.
In November 2010, Essar Holdings, the African unit of India’s Essar Global agreed to buy 54 percent in ZiscoSteel in a deal worth $750 million, with the Government keeping 36 percent and 10 percent to be owned by minority investors.
But the deal eventually fell through due to a number of technicalities.
The Government is now in a new drive to revive the critical steel-maker, with Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha last month intimating that they would come up with a short-list of potential investors by the end of this month.
Advocate Mudenda urged the Industry and Commerce, and the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committees to push for its revival.
“It is my hope that the Portfolio Committee of Industry and Commerce working together with the Portfolio Committee of Mines and Energy will take a spirited role in pursuing the issue of the resuscitation of the ZiscoSteel company with greatest speed within the first quarter of 2017.” — BH24.