New Zimbabwe.com

Government promises Zimchem bailout

By Kwekwe Correspondent


THE government has pledged to assist struggling chemical producing firm Zimchem Refiners return to operating at full capacity.

Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizita Mangaliso Ndlovu recently told Zimchem senior management that government is committed to ensuring that the country’s industries are operating at full throttle.

Zimchem is currently battling serious challenges with raw material suppliers demanding that the Redcliff based company services debts of over $1, 1 million.

Key supplier Hwange Gasification Cola Company (HGCC) is prioritising the regional market where they are generating liquidity.

HGCC is supposed to be supplying Zimchem with crude tar.

“The Minister of Industry had a tour of the Zimchem plant. He promised to work around the clock to address challenges currently bedevilling the company,” said one of Zimchem’s senior employees.

Minister Ndlovu would not however, indicate how government is going to help in addressing the raw material shortages being experienced by the company.

Earlier this year, Zimchem’s board chairman who is also acting CEO George Chigora confirmed that the company was not getting consistent raw material supplies.

“It’s true that we are not getting consistent supply of crude tar due to the fact that the company owes suppliers. Another reason is that our raw material suppliers prefer to export tar to South Africa before beneficiation,” he said.

Zimchem was commissioned by the government in 1994 and processes crude benzol and tar into a range of chemical products.

Its woes began in 2008 following the closure of Ziscosteel, which used to supply the firm with coal tar.