MIDLANDS: Zisco Steel investment deal brings hope

By Tafara Chikumira

THE decision to settle for local mining giant, Kuvimba Mining House, as the partner for the resuscitation of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCOSTEEL), has come as a relief to many, with hopes high that the steel-producing giant could finally reopen after years of non-activity.

The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce is confident the deal will open avenues for local industry through direct business opportunities and downstream activities.

“As a business, we are happy that Zimbabwe in the second republic is pushing for the re-industrialisation exercise. We all know that Ziscosteel was the backbone of the mining industry in this country. A lot is expected out of the deal. We are looking at companies like BIMCO, Lancashire steel and ZIMASCO among others who are set to benefit from the opening of Ziscosteel,” said Dr Tinashe Manzungu.

“Most of these companies were now grappling in the absence of the mining giant. Of interest are the benefits the construction industry is to accrue from the resuscitation of this lying giant. Am happy that already there is a private company also to come on board and produce steal in Mvuma. This will mean that steel products are likely to go down and we are most probably going to have enough for the export market thereby making the 12 billion dollar mining economy a reality,” he articulated.

Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) Chairperson for the economic committee, Trust Chikohora believes the deal is key for national development.

“My understanding is that there is a requirement of at least one billion dollars for the entity to be up and running. We have heard some investors being recommended before and I believe this time we have settled for the best,” said Chikohora.

“We want to see the investors making the necessary move to get the company running in no time and I have faith in the potential of the investor. The fact that this is a local company is a plus as this will mean that the profits to be accrued will be ploughed back.”

Ordinary people have also welcomed the Ziscosteel deal as they anticipate a change of fortunes.

“As I was growing up, one thing that has always been on my mind was the prospect of working for ZISCO steel one day. Those hopes eventually fade when the steel company folded. I am happy that I am still youthful and witnessing that the lost hope has been revived by the second republic. I look forward to getting a chance to work at this great company,” said on youth.

The closure of Ziscosteel in 2015 impacted negatively on the country’s balance of trade as the nation is spending in excess of US$1 billion annually through importing steel and steel products.