Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company privatisation stalled

Zisco Privatisation Stalls
Lloyd Gumbo
11 June 2010,The Herald
Harare — Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has stalled the privatisation of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company contrary to his claims that the Presidency had thrown out the selected bids, a Cabinet minister has said.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals on Wednesday, State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister Gabuza Joel Gabbuza said the inter-ministerial committee was still awaiting the report from Minister Ncube.
Zvishavane-Runde Member of the House of Assembly, Mr Lawrence Mavima (Zanu-PF) chairs the committee.
Minister Gabbuza also dismissed allegations by Minister Ncube that the Presidency had rejected the Zisco bids.
When Minister Ncube appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce recently, he said Government had thrown out the selected bids because the conglomerates were too big and were likely to dictate terms that suited them.
He went on to say Government was now considering new applications.
However, Minister Gabbuza accused Minister Ncube of stalling the process.
"At Zisco some of the initial stages have been done. The technical committee and permanent secretaries of the ministries in the interministerial committee have come up with their reports and submitted them to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
"Minister Ncube was then supposed to come to the interministerial committee with the report before it is taken to Cabinet but that hasn't happened.
"The process has stalled because the Minister of Industry and Commerce is not bringing the report to the inter-ministerial committee and without that process then there will be no privatisation to talk about," Minister Gabbuza said.
Cde Mavima asked Minister Gabbuza about the comments made by Minister Ncube concerning the throwing away of bids at Zisco.
"Why is it taking too long to address the issue of Zisco and we also saw in the Press Minister Ncube saying Government had thrown away the bids because the companies were too big.
Is Government looking for little boys without money to partner at Zisco when you know Zisco has huge debts which require huge capital investments. Why are you not taking those big companies that have the money to clear the debt and recapitalise the steelmaker?"
In response Minister Gabbuza said: "(Minister) Ncube's comments are not the shared view. Zisco needs huge investments and that will help recapitalise the company. The option of looking for small companies is not viable. If he had approached us about that decision we would have challenged him.
"I have checked with the principals, President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara and they expressed ignorance of Minister Ncube's claims."