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Indian Steel Firm Withdraws From Venture With Harare, Cites Interference

Global Infrastructure of India has scuttled a proposed US$400 million investment in the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, citing demands by unnamed senior officials for a stake in the deal. Senior officials said the Indian firm withdrew Lalit Kumar Sehgal, assigned to run ZISCO as chief executive officer while the deal was finalized.

ZISCO sources said Alois Gowo is now acting CEO. Global Steel planned to make the US$400 million investment over 20 years, and some 5,000 jobs may have been lost.

The parastatal's vice chairman, Jonathan Kadzura, refused to comment, saying that Harare is negotiating directly with the company and the board is not involved.

Anti-Corruption and State Enterprise Minister Paul Mangwana told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 that the joint venture remains under negotiation.

Economist James Jowa said the withdrawal by Global Infrastructure, part of the Mittal international steel concern, has much wider implications for the economy.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...