Government has been urged to expedite the process of putting a closure to the Ziscosteel debt legacy to allow for once vibrant iron and steel company to get back on track and resume operations.
With an investor now on board, a new beginning for the dormant iron and steel company is not far off the horizon.
But there are still issues that have to be ironed out to allow for the investor to start on a clean sheet, mainly the $490 million debt that the firm accrued from external loans, external suppliers, domestic loans, suppliers and utilities.
Government has committed to assuming this debt legacy through the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company debt assumption bill of 2018, which according to the constitution requires input from the public before it can become law.
The first public hearing on the bill held today generated mixed feelings from the public with some advocating for an audit of how the firm accrued this ballooned debt to safeguard recurrence of such burdens on the taxpayer.
The other input looked at coming up with a closure on this bill with arguments that this will hasten restoration of operations at the firm.
Recommendations were also proffered for the relevant ministry to revisit clause 4 section 4 of the bill where contributors felt was left open for more claims to be made which would make it mandatory for the government to settle arising debts once this bill is passed into law.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development chairperson, Honourable David Chapfika said further deliberations on the bill slated for Kwekwe, Gweru and Bulawayo between Tuesday and Thursday, will be used to inform the completion of this bill in the national assembly.
“We shall use all the recommendations that are coming from these public hearings to debate this bill before it becomes law. So this input is very critical and it shall be used to inform our debates,” he said.
Revival of Ziscosteel is of paramount importance amid hope that getting back the iron and steel company will assist in growing the construction sector capacity and boost export returns while saving on the burden of importing steel.