HARARE - Zimbabwe has granted electricity tenders worth $2,4 billion to national power utility Zesa Holdings in an effort to ease power outages in the country, a top official has said.
Charles Kuwaza, State Procurement Board (SPB)’s chairman, yesterday told the Mines and Energy Parliamentary portfolio committee that the parastatal has since 2010 granted 205 tenders in the electricity sector.
“In 2010, the number of tenders were $96 million, in 2011 they were 51 tenders valued at $63,3 million while in 2012 they were 46 tenders valued at $42,7 million.
In 2013, the number of tenders awarded was 36 valued at $1,7 billion.
In 2014, they were 24 tenders valued at $298 million,” Kuwaza said.
He added that the tender board has so far this year made electricity offers valued at $107,6 million to Zesa and its subsidiaries — Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).
This comes as concerns had been raised about Zesa flouting tenders, particularly the ongoing smart-metering project which has sparked outrage as initial estimates indicated that ZETDC would require about $100 million to install the smart meters.
Kuwaza said tenders valued below $500 000 were processed by the accounting officer, who falls under the companies’ procurement department while those with a value higher than $500 000 would got through the SPB.
“Those tenders under $500 000 should be decided by the companies. The company’s accounting officer is fully responsible for those tenders following the rules that I just referred to.
“They must follow the rules other tenders applications is decentralised. We always check to ensure they follow the rules, that should be an audit job,” said Kuwaza.
Apart from the smart-metering project, Zesa’s tendering system has also been brought into question as SPB has been under fire for co-opting Intratrek Zimbabwe (Private) Limited (Intratrek) and ZTE Corporation (ZTE) in the 300 megawatt (MW) solar project tender.
However, Kuwaza last year went on record saying that there was no violation of laws and procedure in advising the Zimbabwe Power Company to engage two extra bidders for its intended solar projects in Gwanda.
“The record of proceedings shows that this tender was advertised on June 06, 2013 and closed on September 24… after a request by the accounting officer (ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro),” Kuwaza said last week, adding the Zesa subsidiary only submitted its initial evaluation in December last year after further extensions and on the grounds that it was a complex project.
“After satisfying itself that the evaluation met all the requirements, the SPB… awarded the tender to the lowest bidder to specification China Jiangsu for International Corporation (CJIC).
“In coming to this resolution, we noted that only three companies, according to the ZPC, met all technical specifications,” he said, noting the other three bidders — Afriven Investments, Lanlake Power and No 17 Metallurgical Construction — had completely failed.
While emphasising that it was Gwariro’s firm which had proposed that Harare engages Intratrek and ZTE with a view to increasing power supply in the country, the long-serving bureaucrat said their decision to support the energy company’s plea was based on key provisions of the Procurement Act (PA) and attendant regulations.
Also the total cost of completing the expansion of the Kariba South Power Station ballooned to around $539 million from the budgeted $380 million and this was also under spotlight.