ZISCO pays $2 billion divident to Government (31-08-07)

Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) has paid a $2 billion dividend to government for the first time in 20 years.
The financially beleaguered parastatals board of directors handed over the money to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade at a ceremony in the capital yesterday (Augu

st 1).
Speaking at the occasion, Zisco board chairman David Murangari said the dividend was the result of a number of factors, chiefly the spirit of co-operation between the steel company and its parent ministry.
“Support from the ministry got us on the right footing. The restructuring of Zisco helped us utilise capacity by bringing the right people with the right qualifications and giving them the necessary support,” he said.
He also highlighted that stringent monitoring of operations ensured they progressed in the right direction.
Accepting the cheque, Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu commended the board for a sterling performance despite the many challenges bedevilling the Redcliff-based parastatal.
“Zisco was a subject of concern from day one, being the topic of discussion in Parliament and even in public because it was viewed as a non-performer,” he said.
The minister added that this was a shining example of what co-operation among stakeholders can achieve.
“We are happy with what has happened and this is a good example of co-operation of stakeholders. The relationship between the public and private sector if properly managed can achieve results by way of giving each other direction on how we want to conduct our business,” he added.
Going forward, Murangari envisaged a time when the company would plough back some of its profits to recapitalise Zisco as an engine for industrial growth.

GOVERNMENT as of today (August 2) has paid out over $3,5 trillion to tobacco farmers in support price for flue-cured tobacco deliveries to the country’s three tobacco auction floors.
According to figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, farmers have received a total of $3 516 459 364 624 against $2 457 747 891 for 2006.
The money was paid out against the delivery of 56 304 531kg of flue-cured tobacco to the floors since the beginning of the marketing season on April 24.
No less than 35 430 376kg were sold during the same period last year.
The tobacco, worth US$131 867 210, was sold at an average price of US$2,34 per kg.
This week alone, $23,2 billion in Government support price was paid out by Tuesday against 359 737kg of flue-cured tobacco sold at the floors, fetching US$870 096 at an average price of US$2,39 per kg.
This compares well with the $42,9 million paid out in Government support in 2006 for 594 078kg that fetched US$1,2 million at an average price of US$2,04 per kg.
The support price was this week hiked to $55 000 per kg from $40 000, calculated on a pro-rata basis benchmarked on US$1,50 per kg.
Tobacco deliveries have remained firm as most farmers battle to beat the September 30 deadline when the support price expires.
Government introduced the support price facility last season to encourage tobacco
deliveries to the auction floors and to avoid a repeat of stalemates in past seasons when farmers refused to deliver the “golden leaf” in protest over “low” prices.
An estimated 80 million kg of tobacco are expected to go under the hammer this year.

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