By Michael Magoronga
A new board for the country’s defunct steel manufacturing company, Zisco, is set to be announced this week following the expiry of the tenure of the previous board, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.
The Government in June retired the Nyasha Makuvise-led board, which had overstayed its mandate by being in office for more than a decade.
In an interview on Monday, Minister Ndlovu said everything was set for the new board to be in place.
“The new board will be in place maybe before the end of the week. It looks like they are now going through the final stages of selection and thereafter the board will be announced,” said Minister Ndlovu.
The revival of Zisco has suffered setbacks in the past. This saw the US$750 million deal with Essar Africa collapsing in 2013 as a result of bickering during the inclusive Government.
The Government later engaged a Hong Kong headquartered steel producing company, R and F, which proposed a US$1 billion investment two years ago but the deal is yet to take shape.
The coming in of the new political administration led by President Mnangagwa in November 2017 has raised hope for Zisco’s revival as the Government has declared that “Zimbabwe is open for business” with a view to attracting investors from all over the world.
It is hoped that the new Zisco board will not only be mandated with an oversight role of resuscitating the defunct Redcliff-based giant steel company but also its subsidiaries like Lancashire Steel and Buchwa Iron Mining Company (Bimco).
The steel giant’s subsidiaries also closed down operations following the demise of Zisco at the height of hyperinflation in 2008.
“The new Zisco board will also look at issues to do with Zisco and its family. The board is very crucial at this stage as it will have a pivotal role in the industrial revolution that Government is currently spearheading,” said Minister Ndlovu.
It is hoped that the coming in of new board will bring renewed hope towards the ongoing revitalisation of Zisco, which is considered the biggest steel manufacturing plant north of the Limpopo.
At its peak, Zisco, which is a strategic player in Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround programme, used to employ more than 5 000 workers and supplied the entire Sadc region with steel products.
Meanwhile, efforts to revitalise Lancashire Steel are already underway after the Government in 2010 approved a US$2 million loan facility for the wire producing firm to purchase raw materials.
Lancashire Steel general manager, Mr Ezekiel Machingambi, last week told this paper that his organisation was seeking an additional ZWL$19 million to ensure it smoothly emerges from the woods after closing down in 2010 due to operational constraints. The Chronicle