Expressions of interest from potential investors in ZiscoSteel are now being adjudicated with the process due to be completed by the end of this month, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told Parliament last week.
Two Chinese investors are now investing heavily in new steel mills and mines in other parts of the country, so the new Zisco will be the third set of steel mills.
When it ceased operations Zisco was still using the outdated batch production, so a new investor will have to rebuild all processing plant to switch to the now standard continuous production process, but the other infrastructure and assets of Zisco have value that will allow a faster resumption of production than starting from scratch.
Announcing the adjudication process, Minister Nzenza told the National Assembly in her contributions to the long general debate triggered by the traditional motion in reply to the speech delivered by President Mnangagwa when he opened the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament last year.
“There has been a reform of State enterprises and parastatals. The reform of our State enterprises and parastatal is one of the key pillars for the achievement and attainments of the goals of Vision 2030,” she said.
“I am very happy to state that the revival of ZiscoSteel is on course. An inter-ministerial committee was set up, of which I am chairperson, to drive the revival of this company.
“Zisco has invited potential investors to present their expressions of interest and the bids are now in the process of being adjudicated and the process is expected to be completed at the end of June 2021.”
The Redcliff-based steel manufacturing plant has been a subject of foreign investor interest with companies such as Essar Africa Holdings, a unit of India’s Essar Group, agreeing to invest US$750 million in 2011, but the deal collapsed in 2015.
One of the main thrusts of her ministry, said Minister Nzenza, were completing the required legislative reforms to speed up industrialisation and make investment more attractive, while still putting in the required protections for consumers and others.
“The Sugar Production and Control Act of 1964 has now lost relevance and needs amendment. The principles have been approved by Cabinet and are now with the Attorney-General’s Office for the drafting.
“Consultations between my Ministry and that of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and stakeholders in the sugar industry have been done.
“The development will enable sugarcane farmers to access incentives that are available to growers of other cash crops such as tobacco and cotton.”