By Davison Vandira
THE desire to reduce the country’s import bill on steel products has resulted in engineering, iron and steel stakeholders coming up with a strategic plan to spearhead the revitalisation of the sector.
The industry is the bedrock of Zimbabwe’s industrial growth and economic transformation, but it has been a sleeping giant after the closure of steel producing companies such as Zisco Steel.
The ever-increasing metal prices on the international market have forced players in the sector to retrace their footprints through the launch of a strategy document which will be the guiding principle for the next five years.
According to the Chairperson of the National Employment Council for the Engineering, Iron and Steel Industry, Mr Canaan Dube, the synchronisation of steel value chains is more pronounced through local production hence they will accelerate implementation of this strategy.
“The engineering, iron and steel value chain is one of the 10 strategic value chains being implemented under NDS1 and because of unlimited economic benefits associated by being steel self-reliant has pushed the sector to come together to overcome our challenges,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Dr Mavis Sibanda is excited about the sector’s vision of creating 50 000 jobs, while generating US$6 billion annually.
“The development of the Engineering, Iron and Steel sector strategy which is being spearheaded by the private sector will guide the government policy intervention in the sector and the coordination will establish a stable and sufficient local production capacity of Steel products for the general benefit of the economy,” she said.
The resuscitation of the iron and steel industry has come at an opportune time as government is on a massive infrastructure drive that needs support from the industry.