The Zimbabwe government is to seriously discuss the resuscitation of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, once one of Africa’s largest steel works, next week.
Acting Information Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said yesterday that the cabinet had decided to focus on two public enterprises at each meeting and will focus on the resuscitation of ZISCO and the partial privatisation of Chemplex Corporation.
The government is looking at reforming 43 parastatals and State enterprises.
ZISCO has been dormant for almost a decade and efforts to attract foreign investors to resuscitate the plant have so far failed.
An Indian company Essar was awarded the tender to resuscitate the plant in 2011 but the deal collapsed over some disagreements.
A Chinese company has been reported to be interested in the project but nothing has materialised so far.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose political base is Kwekwe, promised to revive the plant within 100 days of coming into office but that too has flopped.
Opposition legislator Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza has repeatedly said that if the government sorts out the ZISCO problem it will have solved half the country’s economic problems.
“If you sort out ZISCO Steel you have solved half the problems of Hwange Colliery because Hwange Colliery used to supply almost 50 wagons of coking coal every day to ZISCO Steel.
“If you sorted out ZISCO Steel, you have sorted out the National Railways of Zimbabwe because those wagons were providing a lot of revenue to the railways.
“ZESA is going to benefit because that Munyati Power Station was constructed specifically to supply power to ZISCO Steel.
“Studies have shown that the current blast furnaces that are used, if we sorted out ZISCO Steel we can still harness thermal energy from the heat at the top of the furnaces at ZISCO Steel so that will solve partly some of our problems of power…” he told Parliament.
Chemplex Corporation is one of the country’s leading fertiliser manufacturing companies and is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation.
It owns 50% of Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company (ZFC), 36% of Sable Chemicals, 100% of Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries Limited, and 100% of Dorowa Minerals.