Stakeholders in the steel-manufacturing sector say the revival of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) is critical for turning around the fortunes of the steel industry which is hampered by the shortage of raw-materials.
The steel industry is critical to many sectors such as manufacturing construction, engineering, agriculture among others hence the need to capacitate the sector.
STEELWORLD Director, Mr Rana Akbar said the revival of ZISCOSTEEL is critical for the sector which is facing challenges in acquiring raw materials such as billets, high quality scrap and pig iron for foundries.
â€œZISCO is vital in enhancing the availability of scrap metal and other raw materials that are required for competitive products in the region. The sector is critical in enhancing infrastructure development in the country,â€ said Mr Akbar.
Steelmakers Zimbabwe Marketing Manager, Mr Tererai Chivodze said the lifting of the ban on exports of scrap metal is affecting the industry as high quality metals are exported to the detriment of the local steel industry.
â€œThe lifting of the ban on scrap metal by fiscal authorities in the mid-term budget review statement has affected the industry as most of the high quality scrap metal is finding its way on the export market leaving inferior quality in the country,â€ said Mr Chivodze.
The unavailability of high quality scrap metal forces steel manufacturing firms to use sponge iron which pushes production costs upwards.
Currently most of the steel companies are operating between 50 and 60% capacity utilisation with 60% of the products finding their way into regional markets owing to depressed domestic demand.