By Tafara Chikumira
THE granting of National Project status to the Manhize Steel plant near Mvuma has come as a major boost for the setting up of key infrastructure and equipment as the investor is now enjoying the benefits of import duty exemption.
The setting up of the Manhize Steel plant is progressing well with Chinese firm, Dinson Iron and Steel Company, a subsidiary of Tshingshan Holding Group confirming that operations at the billion dollar plant will start as early as next year.
The granting of national project status to the firm, which is now on government’s 100-day priority projects, has allowed the company to get concessions such as free import duty for capital equipment and a range of other exemptions meant to speed up the implementation of the project.
The company’s project Manager, Mr Wilfred Motsi, took time to explain the journey that has been travelled thus far as he briefed a team of the Midlands province’s joint operations command (JOC) that visited the plant this Wednesday.
“The plans that you see on the slide here represent the administration offices. These are the offices we are occupying at the moment and I can safely say these are 90 percent complete. Over there are the company houses. Over there we are almost done with underground foundations for our furnaces. We have also managed to replace build houses for the families we resettled as a result of this development. We are very grateful to the support we are getting from the government of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Motsi.
The company recently entered into a joint venture agreement with ZESA Holdings for the construction of a 400-kilovolt transmission line at Munyati River in Sherwood to ensure uninterrupted power supplies once the plant becomes operational.
The ruling party, ZANU PF, says such huge investments are clear testimony that the second republic is walking the talk in the quest to attain an upper middle-income society by 2030.
“The President’s vision is clear. He is a man who walks the talk. He said no one and no place shall be left behind and this is what we are seeing. The previous dispensation had failed to see such a vision. Already the blast furnaces are at Durban port and the investors are in the process of facilitating their transportation. Zimbabwe is going to be a powerhouse. With steel you will never go wrong. They will be producing much more than the country needs which will guarantee enough for export market. What this means is that we will be getting enough steel at low cost. That means development. The President has promised me that he will come here and proclaim the next harmonised election dates with the furnaces up and running which might be early next year,” said Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, ZANU PF Spokesperson.
Government says it will continue to open more avenues to deal with bottlenecks that might be faced by the investor in line with the government’s open for business mantra.
“Our role is to facilitate business. Many countries are after seeking investments of such magnitude. We have heard the investors crying for this place to be placed as a special economic zone. We are going to be bringing ZIDA who are responsible for such to come and visit here so that they appreciate the development taking place here. We believe that their coming here will result in uplifting of our people’s way of life and as such we need to address their concerns with speed,” said Senator Larry Mavima, Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution.
The establishment of a special economic zone is expected to attract more investment to the area as the public sector through government will provide some level of support for the investor to obtain a reasonable rate of return on the project.
The multi-billion-dollar project which will culminate in the establishment of a new town in Manhize is expected to give a lifeline to the National Railways of Zimbabwe as new railway lines will be constructed to transport bulk goods.
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