The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals has expressed satisfaction with the Zimbabwe-ESSAR Global deal, following clarification from the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
The US$4 billion project was the subject of the debate, as there was a general feeling from the legislators that it was more beneficial to the Indian investors as it awarded them too much control of the countryâ€™s iron ore deposits.
Of concern also was the investorsâ€™ intention to transport iron ore mined from the country via pipelines straight to the port of Beira for exportation overseas.
However, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube clarified these areas of concern before the committee saying they were not part of the agreed terms, but rather ESSAR Globalâ€™s future plans which remain subject to governmentâ€™s approval or disapproval.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals, Cde Larry Mavhima said whilst the Minister had shaded light into the matter they were concerned at the slow pace at which ESSAR was working on the project which has the potential of injecting the much needed foreign currency into the fiscus.
Within the contents of the Zimbabwe-ESSAR deal is a commitment by the eastern iron and steel giantâ€™s commitment to resuscitate the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO).
The government of Zimbabwe has a 40% stake, whilst ESSAR Global owns the remaining 60%.
The project will also provide the required funding for the construction of the large scale infrastructure required for the mining and processing of iron and steel.