THE takeover of Ziscosteel by Essar Africa is now being co-ordinated by the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) in a bid to bring closure to the multi-million dollar deal signed two years ago, it has emerged.
In March 2011, the government and India-based investors agreed on a $750 million takeover of Ziscosteel, but the deal has not been consummated due to haggling over iron ore deposits.
The deal was first signed in August 2011 giving Essar 54% control of the new company NewZim Steel.
As part of the deal, Essar, was also awarded 80% ownership of NewZim Minerals with the government holding the remaining 20%.
The Indian company has, however, failed to commence operations after the government moved to reverse its decision on the grounds that the value of its iron ore claims should be verified first.
Sources close to the developments told NewsDay yesterday that the OPC which oversees government ministries was now handling the matter.
“The issue is now being coordinated by the OPC,” one of the sources said.
“The issue is that the government has agreed to send a common message regarding the deal rather than ministries issuing various statements. The OPC is working on the way forward on the deal.”
Speaking at an investment conference held last week in South Africa, Essar Global’s resident director-Middle East&Africa, Firdhose Coovodia, said investing in Zimbabwe required a lot of patience.
He said, given that Ziscosteel was a national asset, it had invariable attracted a lot of interest from various stakeholders.
Coovadia said Essar was in talks with various parties in the government.
“What is positive though is that we are in communication. What you need is patience,” he said.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire told the same gathering that the issue was being resolved, without elaborating.