VICE-President Joice Mujuru visits the Chisumbanje ethanol project on Wednesday alongside other Zanu PF heavyweights piling up pressure on the inter-ministerial committee to speed up the reopening of the plant.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Mujuru will be accompanied by Zanu PF national party chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo, secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and Commissar Webster Shamu.
The visit comes more than a week after cabinet approved a roadmap for the new ownership of the plant.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the ownership of the Chisumbanje ethanol project was recently approved by cabinet and now waits scrutiny from the Attorney General’s office, raising hopes the plant would resume operations soon.
The agreement would effectively give government a 51% shareholding in the ethanol plant with the remainder owned by Billy Rautenbach’s companies.
Initially, the project was a 20-year Build,Operate and Transfer between the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Rautenbach’s Ratings and Macdom.
State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo told Standardbusiness last week that the inter-ministerial committee had presented its report to cabinet and a MOA would be signed between government and the developer.
Moyo said the MOA would go to the AG’s office to check on the legal implications.
“We have moved and the project is on its way back,” Moyo said.
Sources said last week that the developer was becoming impatient at the slow pace at which the inter-ministerial committee was moving.
Standardbusiness was told last week the inter-ministerial committee had ditched some of the recommendations proposed by the consultant on the way forward for the plant.
Sources said that government wants shareholding in the venture but do not want to inject capital into the project for phases two and three.
Phase two requires US$300 million while phase three’s capital requirements are in excess of US$1,2 billion.
Standardbusiness was told that government is saying that its contribution to the project is the land owned by Arda.
It is understood that government has proposed that the new company should have seven board members with government contributing four with the remainder being provided by Billy Rautenbach’s companies.
Government also wants Rautenbach to appoint the managing director of the venture. But they also want to be given the mandate to appoint a finance director.
Sources said government has also proposed that the board should oversee the day-to-day running of the project, an affront to corporate governance.
Experts say the introduction of a 5% mandatory blending for petrol would save US$2 million monthly in imports.
The country imports at least 30 million litres of petrol per month.