Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has pledged to assist Redcliff-based company, Steelmakers Private Limited, to register and obtain certification to produce and supply medical oxygen for the local market.
The company had earlier appealed for the assistance towards certification for it to start distributing the much-needed medical gas.
At the moment the country is spending foreign currency to procure medical oxygen in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Steelmakers is producing both industrial and medical oxygen using its plant, which was installed in 2 000. The company is producing at 60 percent capacity for both industrial and medical oxygen and it wants to increase production.
Speaking during a recent tour of the plant by Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro, Steelmakers operations director, Mr Alamwar Upendra, said the plant was producing about 200 cylinders of both industrial and medical oxygen per day.
“The plant is designed to produce approximately 300 cylinders of 7,5 cubic meter of gas per day. That is to say we are producing at 60 percent capacity. Our plant is designed to produce 100 cubic metres per hour of oxygen. We are, therefore, requesting that we get requisite licence and certification so that we can produce medical oxygen at full capacity.”
Mr Upendra said the non-availability of cylinders in circulation were also stalling progress. Dr Mangwiro in response pledged Government’s support for the company.
“The medicinal oxygen, I hear they are producing about 200 cylinders per day. If we give them more cylinders, we might be able to get more gas,” he said.
“But before we start taking the gasses, we will take samples that will go through the requisite testing before they are certified for the safety of our patients,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He said once certified, the gas can start being distributed to hospitals across the country. Dr Mangwiro said the Government was going to assist Steelmakers so that the country can access affordable and locally available gas.
“The price of the gas will be much cheaper compared to what we are paying for the imported gas and as such we will assist the company and we are very grateful for this import substitution initiative,” said Dr Mangwiro.
Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Senator Larry Mavima said the partnership was critical in import substitution.
“We have witnessed this exciting initiative and as Zimbabweans it shows we can be self-reliant and are able to substitute imports,” he said.