Govt grants Zisco revival national project status

Govt grants Zisco revival national project status
Published: 20 February 2018
GOVERNMENT has granted national project status to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), paving way for the successful implementation of the nearly $1 billion investment to revamp the defunct parastatal.

Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister, Dr Mike Bimha, revealed this and also highlighted that the mega project would now be implemented under a special economic zone model in line with conditions requested by the investor.

Dr Bimha told the Senate during a question and answer session on Thursday that the revival of the former steel producer was part of the ministry's 100 day plan.

He said the Government has been negotiating with the investor behind closed doors as the project was a sensitive area but expressed confidence that the company will be revived.

"In terms of finalising the implementation modalities, there are certain conditions, which we call conditions precedence that we have to fulfil in order to realise this investment, things that we as a Government must do first before the investor comes on board," he said.

"The first one was that the investor wanted the project to be declared a national project status and that has been done. There was also a need to declare steel processing a special economic zone and that has been done I would like to say to you that all these conditions precedence have been fulfilled."

Projects awarded national status are given preferential treatment, including exemption from paying import duty and other taxes.

Dr Bimha said the investor also suggested that Governments inherit Zisco's debt, which his ministry is assessing. He said reviving Zisco was one of the major economic priorities under President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration.

"We believe that by the end of the 100 days, we will have finalised the implementation modalities and already, there are people going to Zisco time and again, engineers going time and again to make their assessments to plan in terms of going into the future," he said.

"So, I am very confident that as we go forward, we will realise the fruition of this very huge investment, which has got a bearing in terms of our own industry. We import a lot of steel products at the moment and once this project is on stream, we will not be importing. Therefore, we will make savings."

Dr Bimha said Government was not just looking at reviving old Zisco but a re-energised one with new products.

"More importantly, which is different from what Zisco used to produce, Zisco at its time used to produce what is called long products and the new arrangement with the new investor is that we go beyond the long products.

We will now be producing what are called the flat products, which we are importing at the moment," said Dr Bimha.
- online
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