Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Government is in the process of identifying a successful investor out of a potential of nine to resuscitate the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, has said.
Zisco ceased operations at the height of hyper inflation in 2008, and since then, efforts to revive the company have suffered false starts. Giving a keynote address during the virtual Women’s Business Leadership Roundtable (2021) on Friday, Dr Nzenza said Government was determined to ensure the defunct steel giant was revived this year.
“Government is working tirelessly to revive Ziscosteel and already there are nine potential investors. An adjudication process has commenced and will result in the short-listing of the potential investors.
“The successful candidate will then carry out due diligence on Ziscosteel and its subsidiaries and will lead to the implementation of the project,” she said.
Dr Nzenza said Government was formulating and implementing policies and strategies for industrial and commercial growth, with her Ministry facilitating and promoting the development of sustainable, innovative, inclusive and globally competitive industrial and commercial enterprises. She urged women in business to be innovative and make use of modern technologies to push forward industrialisation.
“Women in business are urged to be innovative and make use of modern technologies to push forward industrialisation. Technological advancement and innovation are key to improving productivity and competitiveness of locally manufactured products. Government is keen to deliberate policies to strengthen science, technology transfer and innovation systems through collaboration between Government, development partners, firms, learning and research institutions.”
Dr Nzenza said to ensure that Zimbabwe produces competitive goods and services, Government was offering incentives to stimulate innovation to support promising technological or scientific fields. She said the Government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of Zimbabwe was making strides in assisting companies with funding for viable projects.
“Public-private research institutes are not an exception to be receiving support from the Government including the Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC) to push forward the creation of a strong knowledge base and establish a strong research and innovation network.”
Dr Nzenza said the Government is calling on the women to get into the habit of networking and attending business chambers so as not miss out on trends. She said the virtual conference was very symbolic to some of the key objectives of her Ministry, where they viewed industry and commerce as an equal playing field, with no gender restrictions and no lesser being in business.
Dr Nzenza said: “The Ministry has and continues developing sectoral strategies for all sectors of industry in order to guide and assist players in these different sectors. This is in line with the whole of Government approach envisaged by the National Development Strategy 1 and strategic collaboration with the private sector towards private sector led economic growth.”
In terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she called upon businesses to produce high quality products that meet the continent’s expectations.
In order to fully harness and explore the opportunities that come with such noble interventions, Dr Nzenza said the Ministry was coming up with a National Quality Infrastructure Policy which is expected to address issues of quality and standards. Dr Nzenza said the provision of alternative markets should be fully exploited as it benefits the business community and the nation at large.
“According to the World Bank, if implemented fully, the trade pact could boost regional income by seven percent or $450bn, speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035…This ensures entities become competitive by reducing production costs through increased capacity utilisation.”
She said the Government continues to make deliberate efforts to enlarge access to other global and regional markets through other Bilateral and multilateral engagements.
The CEO Africa Roundtable hosted this year’s Women’s Business Leadership Roundtable (2021) virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and regulations. It was held under the theme, ‘Women unlocking new frontiers,’ with more than 120 women participating.