Parliament will push to complete processes around the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) Debt Assumption Bill by end of next month to aid the takeover of the giant steelmaker by Chinese firm, Tian Li, an official said yesterday.
Tian Li, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong listed R&F Properties in August last year agreed to invest up to US$2 billion in Ziscosteel, but the deal is held up by a US$494 million debt the steelmaker has accumulated over the years.
Government gazetted the Zisco Debt Assumption Bill at the end of January to give Tian Li a clean slate and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development is this week conducting public hearings on the Bill in Harare (Monday), Kwekwe (Tuesday), Gweru (Wednesday) and Bulawayo (Thursday).
Zhang Li, the founder of R&F Properties and Tian Li’s parent company, was in the country last week and met with officials from the Industry ministry, ratcheting pressure on government to resolve the debt issue.
“This Bill has a lot of urgency. We will conclude the public hearings this week and prepare our reports but we are targetting that all parliamentary due processes would have been completed before the end of April,” the committee chairman David Chapfika said after a public hearing in Kwekwe. The Bill showed that Ziscosteel’s debt stood at US$494 million as at December 2016, with US$211,9 million of that being external loans owed to KFW (Germany), Sinosure (China) and Sumitumo (Japan) who is owed US$6 million.