Metals sector challenged to resuscitate the sector

15 Dec, 2021 - 13:12 0 Views
Metals sector challenged to resuscitate the sector Cde Judith Ncube

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter 

THE metals sector has been challenged to come together and explore ways of resuscitating the industry so that they can positively contribute to the economic turnaround as the country moves towards Vision 2030.

Zimbabwe has 55 metal foundries including steel plants that are operational, with the other 30 being non-operational due to shortage of scrap metal and the unavailability of raw materials.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Metal Casting Indaba held in Bulawayo last week, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Judith Ncube said the resuscitation of the metal industry was key in the country.

“As you are aware, Bulawayo was once the hub of iron and steel products. They were being manufactured here, for mining, agriculture, construction, transport and communication.

“NRZ locomotives were always on the rail transporting goods and raw materials from the foundry sector. As enshrined in the National Development Strategy (NDS1) on resuscitation of foundry sector, value addition and beneficiation of scrap metal, it is key to make sure that key raw materials are secured and made available for the growth of the industries,” said Minister Ncube.

The foundry business used to employ over 30 000 people but now there are about 5 000 on the payroll.

The Minister said resuscitation of the metal industry was key as the country will witness employment creation, more exports, GDP growth, FDIs among other benefits.

“Through these initiatives, Zimbabwe will soon reclaim its economic glory. Let us interact constructively towards growing the sector of metals through value addition and beneficiation,” added Minister Ncube.

Zimbabwe Institute of Foundries (ZIF) president Mr Itai Zaba said the underlying cause of the challenges facing the foundry industry started with the demise of Ziscosteel, which was a source of pig iron and foundry coke.

“As you are aware, scrap metal is either the by-product of maintenance works, plant refurbishments, and offcuts from fabrication work, old vehicle stripping, disposed plant and equipment. Due to the nature of such sources of this critical raw material, scrap metal is a finite resource.

“In addition, the volumes on the market tend to fluctuate in relation to the activities that generate the scrap metal. Hence, our continued and urgent request to have a statutory ban of export of scrap metal,” said Mr Zaba.

He said Zimbabwe was the only country in the region that was still turning a blind eye to the export of scrap metal required by the foundries to satisfy local demand while generating the much-needed foreign currency through exports of higher valued manufactured products.

 

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