By Tafara Chikumira
Construction works at Africa’s biggest steel plant in Mvuma are progressing well, with investors confident of finishing the first phase of the programme within the next two years.
The offices at the plant are now being finalised, with electricity now connected to the site, while roads have been constructed for easy accessibility.
The furnaces are in the infant stage, with the company having set up a cement mixing plant with a capacity of producing at least 60 cubic metres per hour.
“This is a commitment being fulfilled by the country and my company. This is the third project after the Hwange and Chegutu projects. We are not going to stop here, but we are progressing. A steel industry park will be set up here. There will be downstream industry which will be set up here. We are happy with the support we have been getting from government. If we fail on some issues please advise us so that we do things properly,” Tsing Shang CEO Benson Zhowu said.
The ruling ZANU PF party is happy with the progress at the plant with high hopes for huge returns once the project becomes operational.
Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, the ZANU PF Secretary for Information and Publicity noted: “I think we can all agree that these guys mean business. They have made Indonesia the second largest steel producing country in the world. We are looking at the scale. This was not done overnight. Our President is a visionary President. He has managed to attract people with global footprint to be part of the Zimbabwe’s development trajectory. There were spanners thrown along the way.”
He added: “We are witnessing the revival of the fortunes of the Midlands as a powerful steel producing giant across the continent. We are looking at pushing in excess of pushing eight million tonnes steel so we are talking for the revival of railways. We are also going to have a new port in Mozambique to cut costs as we are now using the Durban. We are aiming to be bigger than Indonesia. They are here to make our dreams a reality. They did not become who they are through cutting corners. They have always been there and came through a lot. We are on the right track.”
Government says the engagement of the investor is testimony that the country is open for business.
“This is what we want to see in the Second Republic. The investor is demonstrating the capacity. The investor is also doing well in relocating the people. We as government are here to support. Already, people are being employed and we are going to see a whole new town being developed. We are walking the talk. This is the reality. When there is an investor we don’t want bottlenecks. A lot of people come with beautiful plans but nothing comes out but here we are witnessing progress. Where we disagree we sit and solve and there is no need to throw spanners,” Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Larry Mavima said.
The establishment of the steel company, which is set to directly employ 6 000 people, will also result in the setting up of a new town in Manhize.