BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Cabinet has approved a joint venture deal between the Cold Storage Company and a private firm, Boulstead Beef (Pvt) Limited, meant to revive the meat processing concern.
Presenting the post-Cabinet briefing last night, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the partner was set to inject US$130 million into the joint venture over five years as working capital and capital expenditure.
The private player, according to Mutsvangwa, would take over CSC debts of US$42 million and pay annual rentals of US$100 000 during the first five years.
“In return, the company would take over and run the management of the following CSC ranches for an initial period of 25 years: Maphaneni, Dubane, Umguza, Chivumbuni, Mushandike, Willsgrove and Darwendale,” she said.
On top of that, government would allow the private player to manage CSC abattoirs for five years and these include Masvingo, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Marondera.
Asked to justify the 25-year period that the State was giving to the private company, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said it was the feasible timeframe for the investor to recoup their capital as well as be able to make meaningful profits.
Cabinet also approved measures to privatise State-owned transport company, Zupco, with government set to retain 51%, while the private partner will get at least 49%.
Mutsvangwa added Cabinet had also approved principles to amend the Broadcasting Services Act to broaden and address diversity of opinion, ideas and values.
“The principles of the proposed Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill provides the following; that every person has the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media, that the freedom to establish broadcasting and other electronic media of communication subject only to state licencing procedures,” the minister said.
She said the Freedom of Information Bill, which seeks to repeal the infamous Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, was also approved.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the Bill was now ready for gazetting after Cabinet gave a nod, with the key focus being aligning the Act to the Constitution, especially section 62.
The Bill, according to Ziyambi, seeks to regulate the scope of limitations on the right to access to information as well as set procedures for internal and court appeals against decisions made by information officers or principal officers of entities with respect to requests for access to information.
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