ZIMBABWE IRON AND STEEL COMPANY (DEBT ASSUMPTION) BILL [H. B. 2, 2018]
ZIMBABWE IRON AND STEEL COMPANY (DEBT ASSUMPTION) BILL [H. B. 2, 2018]
Fourth Order read: Second Reading: Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill [H. B. 2, 2018].
Question again proposed.
HON. CHAPFIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development as it pertains to the public hearings conducted by the Committee on Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill [H. B. 5, 2018].
In terms of Section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Parliament is mandated to engage the general public in its legislative and other processes of its committees and ensure that the interested parties are consulted about Bills being considered by Parliament. In fulfilment of this constitutional requirement, the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development undertook public hearings for the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) Debt Assumption Bill, 2018, which was gazetted on 19thJanuary, 2018. The Public Hearings were conducted in Harare, Kwekwe, Redcliff, Gweru and Bulawayo from 26-29 March 2018.
The ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill seeks to facilitate the resuscitation of ZISCO, which shut down in 2008. Several investors have been engaged by the Government but the deals never materialised due to various reasons, chief among them being the huge debt within the company. To clean the company’s balance sheet, the Government of Zimbabwe is proposing to assume the company’s debt of about US$495 million and pave way for new financing into the company. Debt assumption is a type of debt refinancing under which a specific financial obligation is officially transferred from one party to another and in this case, the ZISCO debt, after validation and reconciliation, will be transferred and taken over by the Government of Zimbabwe through legislation.
The Bill’s objective is for the State to assume the debt of ZISCO subject to validation and reconciliation processes carried out by the Debt Management Office in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. This will clean the balance sheet of the company, thereby paving way for investors to start on a clean slate. The debts concerned are those accumulated before 1st January, 2017 listed in the Schedule to the Bill. They total, just under US$495 million and is made up of debts to external lenders (approximately US$212 million); debts to external suppliers (approximately US$6 million); debts to domestic lenders (approximately US$58 million) and debts to domestic creditors (approximately US$219 million). The debts to domestic creditors include; over US$15 million owed to ZIMRA for PAYE; over US$94 million classified as “payroll liabilities”; over US$39 million classified as “Pension” and substantial amounts to the Municipality of Redcliff and the City of Kwekwe.
GENERAL SENTIMENTS DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS
Participants mainly comprised of civil society representatives from the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and some creditors. ZIMCODD members were totally against further burdening citizens and taxpayers by taking over debts for parastatals and private entities as this will set a wrong precedent for all struggling parastatals to follow the same route. The potential direct beneficiaries of the Bill who are creditors supported the Bill on the basis that it will facilitate payment of their long outstanding debts.
Majority of the participants were former ZISCO employees and creditors. The general sentiment was in support of the Bill to facilitate payment of their pensions, terminal benefits and outstanding salaries.
There was overwhelming attendance at the Public Hearing by former ZISCO employees who all supported the Bill and called for its speedy enactment to facilitate payment of all outstanding salaries, pensions and terminal benefits without delay.
The hearing was poorly attended and the participants comprised of creditors (ZINWA), former employees and ordinary citizens. There were mixed views on the Bill with creditors supporting its passage while ordinary citizens opposed it on the basis of the burden it will impose on ordinary citizens.
Civil society organisations, creditors and ordinary citizens attended and there were mixed views on the Bill with the majority against its enactment on the basis of the effect on national debt which would be transferred to future generations.
COMMENTS AND VIEWS RECEIVED
Comments and views by those in support of the Bill
Generally, the former ZISCO employees dominated the Public Hearings in Kwekwe and Redcliff. They supported the enactment of the Bill on the basis of the direct benefits it will bring to them and their families in terms of liquidation of their long outstanding salaries as well as other downstream benefits. The following comments were made;
§ There is need for a comprehensive validation and reconciliation processes for all creditors as provided for in Clause 5 of the Bill as some companies who provided services to ZISCO are missing on the creditors’ list while others like ZINWA raised concerns on the understatement of their debt. The ZINWA debt is stated as $38 000 in the Bill while ZINWA representatives argued that ZISCO owes the entity $1 187 630. 31 ($632 000 capital and the balance being interest). Other members of the public questioned the $495 million total debt figure after having read of the total debt being $380 million in The Herald Newspaper of January 18. Zenith Medical Benefit Society who are missing on the schedule raised a red flag on the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the schedule. Ex-employees who have taken ZISCO to Court also called for the inclusion of their outstanding salaries whose validation is before the courts;
§ The $1.776 million listed as ‘other creditors’ on page 5 of the Bill needs to be detailed as the figure is too big to be consolidated;
§ The $94 million payroll obligation needs to be itemised;
§ There is need for clarity on Clause 6 on the date of closure or final updating of the schedule of creditors according to Section 3(b) so that it is not open ended;
§ The Bill must include and clearly specify creditors for ZISCOs subsidiaries;
§ There is need for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to negotiate with some creditors for discounts especially on interest payments;
§ ZISCO is largely owned by the State and has considerable influence in the economy both up and downstream. As such, the public urged Government to urgently expedite the passage of the Bill as this would result in revival of the steel industry which would create employment (both direct and indirect), value addition to service providers like the transport and construction industries, boost exports and reduce steel imports among others;
§ Some creditors demanded the assurance that they will definitely receive their dues when the Bill is enacted as there is a risk that the Bill may be passed and they will not get what is due to them. Ex-employees felt let down as there have been several statements from Government on the re-opening of ZISCO which never materialised. The hallmark of this failure being when the former President officiated at a signing ceremony for a deal between Government and ESSAR Holdings which was set to take over ZISCO and settle all outstanding debts;
§ The Bill should have timelines on when the respective creditors will be paid;
§ Ex-ZISCO workers raised concerns on the deplorable living standards they have been subjected to since the stoppage of ZISCO operations. It was reported that Kwekwe City Council had disconnected water supplies to Redcliff Town Council due to overdue water debts and the majority of creditors are ex-ZISCO employees. As a result, the ex-workers are using water from unprotected sources, their children are not going to school and have no access to medical facilities and funeral policies as ZISCO was not remitting their contributions to the recipient funeral assurance companies and NSSA;
§ Service pay, acting allowances, overtime allowances, shift allowances and demutualisation allowances must be included in the pensions figure;
§ Debt assumption will possibly result in injection of life in Redcliff and Kwekwe which then will act as nodes of development in line with the Open for Business narrative;
§ Ex-employees requested that their outstanding salaries be paid as a lump sum; and
§ Ex –employees who were retrenched in 1993 requested that they be included in the creditors list.
Comments and views against the Bill
ZIMCODD members and other ordinary citizens were generally against the passage of the Bill. They raised the following issues;
· The need for clarity on how the debt has accumulated and the need of an expeditious debt validation and reconciliation exercise due to the inconsistencies of the creditors’ list on the Bill and what the creditors are claiming. Whoever is found to have caused accumulation of the debt has to pay instead of burdening ordinary citizens. Questions were raised on why PAYE, pension and funeral assurance premiums were deducted from employees’ salaries and not remitted to the respective recipients who are on the creditors list.
· The proposed debt assumption may have negative socio-economic effects on the ordinary Zimbabweans as it may put an extra financial burden on tax payers. There is need to treat and approach the national debt in a holistic manner and not in isolation. The Bill will result in an increase in Government debt (currently estimated at US$13.579 billion or 74.9% of GDP as at 31 December 2017. Debt assumption of US$495 million will thus increase the debt to US$14.074 billion which is 77.6% of the GDP and taking into account the projected $875.8 million, new debts in 2018, the total Government debt may be estimated at US$14.95 billion by year end of 2018 and this is not sustainable);
· Members of the public raised concerns that Parliament was soliciting for their views when Government had already assumed the debt as it was already paying outstanding salary arrears;
· The accumulation of the Zimbabwe debt to over 77% violates provisions of the Debt Management Act, which stipulates that the Government debt should not exceed 70% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The gist of the submission was that the country cannot solve one problem by creating another. Accumulation of debts inversely affects sovereign credit ratings and increase interest spending;
· Government should focus on the provision of critical services such as health and education instead of assuming debts. The example of striking doctors was cited and with the economy in poor shape, this has a direct bearing on citizens’ rights enshrined in the Constitution. Prioritising ZISCO debt at the expense of service delivery was argued to be unconstitutional and insensitive;
· Members of the public were of the view that Government set a wrong precedent when it assumed the RBZ debt incurred when the bank supported identifiable farmers with inputs and this has to stop. They urged Government to put more emphasis on improving corporate governance as assuming ZISCO debt was likely to encourage other parastatals like Air Zimbabwe which are facing viability problems to follow suit. Moreover, they argued that there is no guarantee that there will be good corporate governance henceforth and the company will not bring a begging bowl to Government for another bailout. They emphasised that ordinary citizens must not bear the burden of mismanagement of parastatals and state entities;
· Some participants were of the view that ZISCO should liquidate its non-core assets and meet its obligations. Assuming debts of a private company has got both positive and negative spillover effects but with the current situation in the economy, the negative effects of increasing debt while stifling other critical sectors outweigh the positive effects of the resumption of ZISCO operations;
· The Bill only has got the list of creditors but has no indication of the debtors. The public urged Government to approach ZISCO debtors to partially offset the company’s creditors;
· Legislators were urged to protect parastatals from collapsing rather than reacting when the horses have bolted;
· There were revelations that an Audit report done by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) of the Ministry of Finance in 2008 has not been made public. The Committee was requested to request for that report which will expose the rot which led to the collapse of ZISCO as well as identifying the culprits and bring them to account; and
· The new investor should take over ZISCO debts as there is no point in Government taking over a $500 million debt for an investor who brings only $1 billion. The level of investment is considered not commensurate with the burden imposed on citizens.
Benefits of ZISCO
Companies likely to benefit from the opening of ZISCO
Benefits from the opening of ZISCO
Committee Observations and Recommendations
· There is need for the Debt Management Office to validate and reconcile the ZISCO debt to ensure that the Government assumes the correct and authentic debt as provided for in Clause 5.
· Interest on debts needs to be validated by interest bureau companies and auditors.
· Government must provide clarity on what will happen to minority shareholders after ZISCO takeover. The responsible Minister must confirm that this intervention will wipe out all minority interests without exception.
· The Committee is concerned with the level of inefficiency over the wage bill at ZISCO. It was improper to continue engaging workers, who would come to work, log in and do nothing thus causing the ballooning of the employment related debts. This level of inefficiency should not be tolerated.
· There are social issues which were raised by Redcliff residents which the responsible Ministry should urgently look into and address.
· The Committee recommends updating of the creditors list as well as availing of the debtors list for ZISCO.
· The Committee recommends verification of the list of ex-employees who are getting 2 months’ salary arrears every month.
Subject to this Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee resolved to submit this Bill for approval by this House. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I think the question is not about the importance of ZISCO to the economy. We all know how important ZISCO is to this economy. I think the question that the Minister is putting before the House is, let us have Government taking over the debt so that the new investor can start on a clean balance sheet without the debt.
So now we further on ask, is the debt the problem in attracting investors into ZISCO? Are debtors complaining about the ZISCO debt? Are they saying we will not come into ZISCO because ZISCO has a debt? Legally, what happens if there is a new investor and the one who created the debt was Government, was the major share holder, will the investor still worry about a debt that was not created by him because this was a legacy debt, it belongs to the old investor and the old investor or shareholder is Government.
To me, I do not really see why we must be bothering ourselves as to taking over the debt because automatically it follows that the debtors, the people that are owed money, the creditors will definitely chase Government because Government was the major shareholder in the previous ZISCO. I do not see how they will chase the new investor because the new investor is a new person unknown to them, but again, if I go back, Mr. Speaker, is the debt the problem to the investor?
When ESSAR came into the deal and took over ZISCO, was there no debt? The debt was there but the investor was still able to come in and operate it. Perhaps the starting point , Mr. Speaker, is for the Minister to explain to us exactly why the ESSAR deal collapsed, then it becomes easier for us to understand whether it is the issue of the debt because according to my understanding, we have had two investors before. ESSAR came in and operated but they disappeared Asia Metal was interested. They came in but Government pushed them out. They were not interested in Asia Metal. There were many investors. Is the problem the debt?
Now, if we do not address certain fundamentals, even if we inherit that debt and we take it over as Government, there are key issues that the investor will be interested in ensuring they are solved before they can put in their money. For example, if the investor comes in with his money, the day he wants to pay his workers at ZISCO, will the bank be able to give him that money because that money will not be coming from Europe straight to the workers? It has to go through the banking system. Have we sorted or agreed with the conditions for the banking system that if there is an investor, allow him to access his money? If the investor makes a profit, are our systems sorted out to enable this investor to take back the profits that he has made to his country?
I am sure these are the key salient issues that we must address other than just looking at the debt because I strongly believe the investor is not very worried about the debt. Fair and fine, let us agree Government takes over the debt, but how about these other key issues?
One of the problems that made ESSAR leave was the fact that they could not get the mining rights from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate provided the rights to access water. Then the Ministry of Energy and Power Development assured them that we will give you the energy, but the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development did not give them the rights to access the mineral which they so needed for the operation of that plant.
Now, Hwange Colliery, is it ready to supply the coke? Is the Railways able to carry the coal to ZISCO? As long as we do not address these things together with the debt, I am sure we will still come back to this Parliament. The Minister will still come back to this Parliament announcing that the investor has left or he is not able to start like we saw with these gentlemen who had signed for the rehabilitation of Beitbridge-Masvingo-Chirundu highway because there are certain key fundamentals that need to be addressed in the economy to attract the investor, not just the debt. I have just mentioned some of them.
We have generally talked about the ease of doing business. That is a major factor for every investment that comes into this country. For as long as we just look at the debt and do not address these other things which are serious bottle necks to every investor who wants to start up, we will not find any investors. Now, we also have the issue of workers. The workers’ salaries - that is a local debt. Where are the workers going to claim their money? Is it from Government or from the former ZISCO who is Government because that is the major shareholder of the former ZISCO or are they going to claim their arrears from the new investor? I think all these issues must be sorted out and made clear even within that deal.
Now, the Minister yesterday reported that one of the things that the new investor is going to do is to put up a plant. I did not hear in his report what the shareholding of Government is because we have already the infrastructure called ZISCO. Now, what happens? Are they putting up a new plant? Which part of the plant? Is it just the furnaces because we have all this other rolling stock and the equipment for rolling up the bars and the angle iron equipment moulding?
All this is infrastructure that is already in the hands of Government and must be given a certain percentage of value so that it determines the shareholding in the new investment. Perhaps the Minister must also indicate to us what exactly the new holding structure being proposed is between the new investor and the Government because these are key. My view also, Mr. Speaker, would be to ensure that key players like the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Hwange Colliery Company, they must have a stake in this deal. They must have shareholding. It is important because it affects them directly and they will affect ZISCO’s operations directly. So, we need to ensure that these key stakeholders have a share into the operations of ZISCO so that there is no way we will tomorrow blame Hwange for not playing its part to ensure that there is coal at ZISCO or there is coal for the coke ovens.
So, all these are issues which I think the Minister must seriously think as they negotiate this deal - the ability for the major shareholders, particularly the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Hwange Colliery to have a serious stake besides just Buchwa Iron Ore Mines, but these other key players. I think they must be considered to be included in the deal. Thank you Mr. Speaker, these were my brief remarks on the deal.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I support the takeover of the debt at ZISCO Steel for the following factors. My predecessor spoke of the issues of supporting other industry lines, in particular the Hwange Colliery. We visited Hwange Colliery as a Committee on Mines and Energy. We saw the coke oven batteries. We saw how much coal would come up in terms of value after being beneficiated or after becoming coke and before it is utilised at ZISCO Steel. So, the issue of the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel speaks to and about the beneficiation and value addition of our God given natural resources and it is very key and it is in my view, long overdue.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is then my clarion call that as the issue of the debt assumption of ZISCO Steel, they take over the warehousing of that debt. There should be a meeting of minds from all other sectors that my predecessor spoke about. The Hwange Colliery should be involved and the investor should also be involved. Further to that initiative by the Minister of Finance to declare that place a special economic zone, that is going to become a panacea for that de-industrilisation Mr. Speaker. This will make sure that we get the investor to repatriate both capital and profits because this is one of the initiatives that is embraced or embedded in the Special Economic Zones, so that it puts paid the speculation about whether or not the investor is going to be able to recoup their investment after they put in their money.
Further to the takeover of that debt, I ask that place be declared a special economic zone so that the investor can certainly have safe sleep. In my view supporting the local agenda, that is the ZIM ASSET, that now speaks to value addition of our God-given natural resources. We are also in the same vein supporting the SADC industrilisation strategy of 2015. I am alive also in the same vein that the Africa Agenda 2063 is also supported by this initiative. So, we should not be blinded Mr. Speaker Sir to the issues of local economic development when we talk about the resumption of this debt or the takeover of ZISCO Steel debt. We should know that it also caters for all other regional initiatives and the continental initiative and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is my fervent view that ZISCO Steel is in the same place with the likes of David Whitehead Textiles which are under judicial management. It is also my clarion call that when this debt is assumed by Government there is also the payment of the creditors, the majority of which are workers like Hon. Gabbuza has alluded to so that we are not running away or taking over debt and leaving the creditors to wallow in poverty Mr. Speaker Sir. If we are going to deal with the creditors in the future, it should be well structured in the agreement with Government and the investor so that it is open and put in bear, and it is known that the workers or the majority of creditors are not going to wallow in poverty.
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the initiatives by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. If you want to see and go far, you only need to stand on the shoulders of giants. We now have that diaspora initiative which has brought in the wagons and engines for NRZ. The assumption of this debt at ZISCO Steel should be seen in the same light that NRZ and the Ministry of Transport is now supporting the Ministries of Industry and that of Mines, and such like. The left hand should know what the right hand is doing Mr. Speaker Sir.
It is my opinion that when we are now dealing with the ZISCO Steel debt, it should not be dealt with in isolation. It should actually be a ZISCO Steel reform programme that involves the Ministers of Transport, Finance and Mines - because after the assumption of this debt, we should also look at the dragline. The dragline is this humongous piece of equipment at Hwange Colliery that will drag coal in its enormous quantities at one haul, which costs about US$200 - 500 million, but this will bring in a lot of coal that is going to be used as a throughput at ZISCO Steel. So, whilst we deal with the ZISCO Steel debt, let us also deal with capacitation of the Hwange Colliery equipment and mining equipment initiative.
I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity Mr. Speaker Sir and I say I support the assumption of this debt.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and once again, I want to thank Hon. Chapfika, Hon. Gabbuza and Hon. Nduna for their contributions in support of the assumption of the ZISCO Steel debt by the state. Let me say from the outset that the intention is to present to any would be investor. Right now we have a Chinese investor. If there is a change of mind by the Chinese investors we want to be in a position where we present to any investor, Chinese or otherwise, a clean slate on the base of which they can mount their investments. That is the whole intention of this Bill.
I want to say also that it is a multi-pronged approach to revive the steel industry in this country. We cannot just look at ZISCO Steel; we must also look at the railways as was mentioned by Hon. Gabbuza. We must also look at the output of coal from Hwange Colliery and I want to say to this august House that measures have already been taken to rehabilitate and support increased coal production at Hwange Colliery. We have capitalised Hwange Colliery through provision and issuance of Treasury Bills, that has been done. As a result, we have seen the coal output increasing from a low of 30 000 metric tonnes to something in excess of 300 000 metric tonnes per month.
Also, with respect to railways, we have a programme of rehabilitating the railways which already Hon. Nduna has just made reference to, but back to ZISCO Steel. Hon. Chapfika I want to thank the Committee for its support. I am aware from your report that there are pros and cons to the whole Bill, but in the end the cons weigh heavily in support of the Bill. So, I want to thank the Committee for that support. Let me just answer some of the issues that you raised specifically.
The verification, validation and reconciliation will be done by the Debt Management Office which we set up and which is resident in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. It is dedicated to negotiating loans and to building expertise and negotiation skills on how to negotiate loans to reschedule and so on. So, the verification, validation and reconciliation will be done by that office. Although we list here a schedule of creditors, we merely lifted that schedule from the books and statements of accounts of ZISCO Steel. However, before we can settle them as a state, we must validate, reconcile and verify, that I want to assure you is what will happen.
Again if creditors are missing from the schedule, it does not mean that those liabilities will not be honoured. The Bill has a provision which allows those creditors who have been left out to prove their claims and this will be done by the Debt Management Office. In a normal situation, this company should have been liquidated years ago and creditors would have been entitled maybe to one cent in a dollar but we have not followed that route. We are allowing any creditors to prove their claims against ZISCO Steel.
You ask that we give assurances that all the debts will be paid. Yes, I give those assurances, but not today and not tomorrow but when the situation of our economy improves, we should be able to honour these obligations and they stand a liability on the books of Government. Therefore, as you know chikwereti hachiori and we will certainly make sure that we honour these obligations. With respect to when we honour these obligations, I want to hesitate to say it will have to depend on the improvement in our economy and I am very optimistic that this debt in terms of improvement and economic recovery will come sooner rather than later. Let me say that I still need to officially be informed.
Part of the cleaning up entailed that the coke ovens will be separated from the furnaces and we found a new investor who is going to take over the coke ovens and that new investor has already taken occupation/possession of the coke ovens. In addition, the new investor is going to assume the debt which is owing to KFW of Germany, which is around 163 million to 174 million. So, as we speak, we already have an arrangement whereby the total debt of ZISCO Steel is going to be reduced by that amount between 163 million to 174 million. The debt still needs to be validated, verified and reconciled.
So, it shows that there is some momentum that is taking place, which will lead to the resuscitation of the steel industry in this country. On the issue that I have just made reference to, where there is a new investor in respect of coke ovens while they are taking over the liability, Government will remain the guarantor in the event that the investor again defaults. So, there is that assurance again to the KFW that we are not running away from our obligations as guarantor.
With respect to clarity on how the debt has been accumulated, Mr. Speaker Sir, the clarity will come through validation, clarification and reconciliation. They will be required to produce all the documentation necessary to prove that they are indeed owed that money, otherwise Government will not honour that debt.
Hon. Gabbuza, you make a very sweeping statement. The record says debt is not a problem. That is what he says. Clearly, ESSAR ran away for some other reasons. Can we imagine half a billion worth of debt and you say to an investor who has nothing to do with that liability, come and take over this business but you are going to assume a debt of half a billion and expect that the investor will come willingly.
From what I understand, ESSAR had other views. In fact, they were more interested in exporting iron ore in order to pay whatever they were assuming. They were not much interested in doing the steel plants but in exporting iron ore, which means that they went to an extent of envisaging a conveyor belt from Zimbabwe to the sea to carry the iron ore. It is when we discovered that in fact problems started to emerge. Anyway, the point was also made by Hon. Gabbuza that they ran away because there were no mining rights. We did not refuse them mining rights of iron ore to feed into the furnaces. What we said no to was exporting iron ore as if that was the core business for which they had bid for ZISCO Steel.
What this country needs at the moment is a steel industry. We want to go back to where we were may be ten or so years ago where we were producing at least a million metric tonnes of liquid steel and even exporting because we were producing more than our requirements. That is where we should go because no country can prosper and do development without a steel industry. We need steel for virtually almost everything including whether we are talking about railways, whether we are talking about bridges or we are talking about construction. Currently, I believe that we are importing steel annually, 400 million worth of steel annually. So, this resuscitation will basically mean that we will no longer need to expend valuable foreign currency in importing steel for our construction industry.
Again, I think I have already responded to Hon. Gabbuza that we have a multi-pronged approach on addressing the core-production at Hwange Colliery, addressing the transporter, the National Railways of Zimbabwe and also addressing the issue of taking over of the coke ovens. Again, I want to give the assurance that when we are taking over the liabilities, it means these liabilities are being taken over by the State.
Hon. Nduna, thank you very much for your support for the take over of the debt. I agree with you and a decision has been taken to designate Kwekwe, and Redcliff in particular as a special economic zone for the steel industry. Mr. Speaker Sir, with those remarks, I now move that the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill [H. B. 2, 2018] be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Tuesday, 15th May, 2018.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 15th May, 2018.