ZISCOsteel project is still alive and kicking – Bimha


On the third stage, they will be talking about the manufacture of stainless steel and this is the last stage in the value addition in the manufacture of iron and steel.  When you start manufacturing stainless steel, you will have more money which will be coming in from other countries.  This is a project which requires a lot of high powered electricity.  So, they need to set up their own thermal power station which is going to use coal and it is going to supplement the electricity which they will be getting from the local stations.  Therefore, we need to talk about precedent conditions.  They will tell you that supply us with this and then they we will get into the manufacturing product.

 The first stage which they wanted us to rectify was that the Government should assume the ZISCO debt so that when the investor is now operating, the other creditors will come and say ZISCO you owe us this much. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Chinamasa was talking about the ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill, this will mean that the Government of Zimbabwe will take up the responsibility of paying the ZISCO Steel debt so that the investor is not bothered about that debt.  We know that the Government has no money to pay for that debt but we have agreed with the investor that he is not going to operate in all the areas that are being undertaken by ZISCO. So, we are going to sublet these areas to other steel players so that the money which will be generated from that side is going to pay that debt so that ease pressure on the Government.

The other pre-condition is that this project should be given the national project status and we have already done that.  This means that there are some benefits which accrued when they have this status, like duty which is going to be wavered on some imported equipment for this ZISCO project.   They have also set a pre-condition that ZISCO Steel should be declared a special economic zone because it also has its own benefits.  The first registered economic zone is ZISCO Steel.  Any company which is in the programme of steel manufacturing will benefit from the economic zone.  So, these are some of the benefits which the investor has asked as a pre-condition for opening up ZISCO Steel.

The investor also asked that we should avail to them resources where they can get iron ore and limestone, including any other; like such coal, because it has different grades.  We also find that there is coking coal, it is not found everywhere but it is found in special places. So, we were delayed by this stage because the investor brought in his own prospectors to come and check on where there is this coking coal.  So they keep on leaving from place to place, searching for this coking coal.  What is now causing the delay of the implementation of this asset is that they should discover the coking coal, when they discover it then the ZISCO Steel project may even take up.  Like I said, we need to fulfill some pre-conditions so that as the identification of those natural resources and from then the programme can take up.  So I have come to inform the Hon. Members that the ZISCO Steel programme is alive and kicking and it can opened as soon as these pre-conditions are met.  I thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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