Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha says Essar Africa Holdings Ltd is still in Zimbabwe, contrary to reports that the Indian investor had pulled out.
The minister said Essar was working with Government on challenges that had arisen when the investor took a break during the period of the inclusive Government.
“The major factor why the deal has taken this long to implement is because of the inclusive Government, which was characterised by a lot of bickering and because of that the investor decided to take a break.
“Not many investors who take a break come back but after the tenure of the inclusive Government, the investor came back but a lot of things had changed and that is what we are now working on together,” he said without elaborating on the new challenges.
Minister Bimha said that was the only time Essar had taken a break and reports implying otherwise were a misrepresentation of his response to a question on the issue raised during the recently ended Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress in Victoria Falls where he was guest of honour.
“This is what I said in my response to the question on the deal. I said they took a break then and not now as is being implied,” he said.
Essar Africa Holdings Ltd took over Zisco, which had been re-branded NewZim Steel, on August 3, 2011.
This was after it had signed a $750 million deal with Government to take over and resume operations at the defunct state-owned Ziscosteel.