Demand for local steel products soars
UNDER pressure to meet growing domestic demand, Redcliff-based Steelmakers Zimbabwe says it is working hard to boost production.
Management say the implementation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which removes several goods including steel products from the Open General Import Licence, has revitalised the company’s fortunes.
The legal framework was promulgated by the Government in June to control cheap imports flooding the country.
In an interview, Steelmakers Zimbabwe operations manager Mr Upendra Alamwar said following the promulgation of SI 64/2016, there has been more demand for locally manufactured steel products.
“Any policy that promotes production of local products is welcome. SI 64/2016 has helped us in the steel industry as it has created more demand for steel products.
“Since the promulgation of the statutory instrument, we have seen a shift in demand which now requires us to increase production to match with demand,” he said.
Steelmakers manufactures close to 36 000 tonnes of steel per annum that is converted into various shapes and sizes to cater for various sectors that include engineering, agriculture, mining, construction and manufacturing.
The firm exports to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
In 2008, the Government banned the export of scrap metal to compel continued production of locally produced steel.
Mr Alamwar said the steel producer had also resumed steel exports to regional countries.
The exports were suspended at the beginning of the year owing to the firming US dollar against regional currencies.
The steel manufacturer says it has also begun feasibility studies to introduce new technology at its sponge iron plant in Masvingo.
About $155 million would be set aside for the investment, which is expected to improve output tenfold from the current 30 000 tonnes of sponge iron per annum to 300 000 tonnes.
The project would be financed through long-term borrowings and equity partnerships.
It is hoped that the new technology will see the sponge iron further being converted to steel billets while hot billets will be charged directly to the mills for conversion to deformed bars and other sections. — @okazunga