Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE $87 million Bulawayo Thermal Power Station rehabilitation project has missed the first quarter 2017 commencement deadline.
The Government secured $87 million lines of credit from India last year for the refurbishment of the thermal power plant, which was built 60 years ago.
In an interview in Bulawayo Tuesday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Engineer Partson Mbiriri said:
“As you might be aware resources for the repowering of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station were secured by the Government from India Export and Import Bank (India-EximBank), which is that country’s government bank.
“So, India indicated that they would want a company from there to lead out in construction of the project. The tendering process of contractors to do the repowering of Bulawayo is being done in New Delhi and all the procurement processes for the project will also be done in India and the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is involved in that process.”
The refurbishment process includes among other activities; replacing old boilers that use outdated technology with state-of- the-art boilers.
“Last week, the contractors from India were here (Bulawayo) for the second time conducting the site visit, as well as other assessment to pave way for the submission of the final tender.
“At this stage, as Government we are no longer controlling that procurement process,” said Eng Mbiriri, adding that it was their hope that the tendering and procurement processes were now being finalised to commence the project.
Eng Mbiriri said the winning contractor would sub-contract local companies and some of the equipment would be sourced locally.
Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui told this paper recently that four companies from his country had pre-qualified for the tendering process that has been done in India to find a suitable firm to upgrade the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station.
The $87 million India-EximBank line of credit was approved in 2015 during President Mugabe’s visit to that country.
About $30 million of the $87 million has since been extended towards the rehabilitation project.
The facility has a tenure of 13 years, a grace period of three years and a repayment period of 10 years at two percent interest rate per annum.
Bulawayo Power Station was built in 1957 with an installed capacity of 120MW. As of yesterday, ZPC indicated that the thermal power plant was not producing anything.