Binga South Member of Parliament Joel Gabbuza says the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) is so strategic to the country’s economy that a quarter to half of the country’s problems would be resolved if it came into operation today.
He said ZISCO was so intricate and interlocked to all aspects of the economy that the government must mobilize funds to resuscitate the company if it cannot find an investor.
The government had roped in Indian company ESSAR to revive ZISCO but the deal seems to have fallen through.
“It is my appeal that if we are to live by what His Excellency mentions the issue of revitalising industries, if we can possibly as a government prioritise the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel because this is almost a panacea to some or almost all of our problems in this country,” he said.
Gabbuza said the revival of ZISCO would boost the construction industry, Hwange Colliery, Sable Chemical as well as all the small and medium industries that make things like scotch carts.
The MP said he believed the money to revive ZISCO was there but what was lacking was the strategic focus and clear understanding of how ZISCO was interlinked with neighbouring Sable Chemicals.
“On one of these days as I drove along Mvuma road, I counted up to 105 thirty-tonne trucks carrying steel from South Africa. To my mind, I asked myself and said what would happen if these 105 thirty-tonne trucks were carrying steel coming from ZISCO Steel? That is quite a lot of money Mr. Speaker.
“To imagine that these trucks are traversing our roads on a daily basis and if you multiply the amount of money that we are wasting buying steel from South Africa instead of buying from our operational ZISCO Steel, I think the figures will be very surprising and important to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,” Gabbuza said.
He said that it was not a coincidence that Sable Chemicals was built close to ZISCO.
“Why was it strategically located there? Both ZISCO Steel and Sable Chemicals were so interlinked and currently both companies are not fully operational. How did ZISCO Steel support Sable chemicals? In the manufacture of fertilizer particularly ammonium nitrate Mr. Speaker, there is need for nitrogen and hydrogen, all which come from the ordinary air which goes through a separation plant which separates that air into nitrogen and hydrogen.
“There is oxygen which comes out as an excess. All that excess oxygen from Sable Chemical which it did not need for the manufacture of ammonium nitrate was channeled to ZISCO Steel to blast or oxygenate the blast furnaces, to oxidize the iron ore in the blast furnaces. ZISCO Steel did not get that oxygen for free; they were buying it from Sable Chemical. As a result, it made fertilizer cheaper to buy.”
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