NEW ZIMSTEEL chief executive officer Vinod Arora has pledged that his company would procure most of its services from indigenous companies in Redcliff and Kwekwe ahead of cheap imports from outside the country.
Speaking to NewsDay, Arora said New Zimsteel was committed to abiding by the laws of Zimbabwe on recruitment of staff and procurement procedures.
“We will follow the laws of this country, but I can assure you that we will not be bringing labour from India and neither will we be procuring locally available consumables from India or outside Zimbabwe. We will only outsource what is not available locally,” Arora said.
Essar Africa Holdings, the owners of New Zimsteel, has started work on building a new iron and steel producing plant after the government agreed to release mineral rights to the company following a two-year deadlock.
Arora said most of the equipment was being imported from China because it was new technology which was also not available in India.
“We want to have access to modern technology in iron and steel production and this technology is not even available in India. So we have given a Chinese contractor the contract to come and do the work. As we speak, some of the components have already been ordered and are at sea,” he said.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Kwekwe branch had expressed concern about the tendency by big corporates to import even small items such as flip charts and bond paper from China when they could be sourced locally.
“Essar should not come here to just pay salaries, but they should add value by working with local businesses and ensure that there is growth in Redcliff and Kwekwe. Local companies should be given preference at New Zimsteel,” ZNCC Kwekwe chairperson Lee Sithole said.
Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Jeitendra Tripathi said companies from his country operated differently from others which imported labour when investing in the country.
“I will not name anyone, but we don’t behave like our friends from other countries who come with all their workers from their countries and open shops here. We will employ locals and add value,” Tripathi said.
President Robert Mugabe recently accused Chinese companies of importing labour into Zimbabwe when there was enough suitably qualified personnel on the local market.