NATIONAL power utility, Zesa, has finally given the nod for commencement of the Mutare Peaking Plant generation project, after putting it on hold since 2015, following a dispute with the contractor, Parliament heard yesterday.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Zesa chief executive officer, Josh Chifamba, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chairman, Stanley Kazhanje and ZPC acting managing director, Joshua Chirikudzi told the Daniel Shumba-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that they decided to clear the project after the contractor, Helcraw, had met most of the specifications.
“We believe we have made significant progress on the plant and had meetings with the contractor, and what we are now waiting for is the revised invoice and certificates so that we can start processing payment,” Kazhanje said.
Helcraw is headed by local businessman Farai Jere.
“This contractor has done a lot and has worked with us before and we have no ill feelings against him,” he said.
Kazhanje said what was now outstanding were lease agreements and he assured Parliament that they would be paying a percentage of the initial bill this week from an amount of $237 000 charged for the first phase of the project, which is supposed to be completed in June next year.
On completion, the project is expected to significantly reduce the country’s power imports.
The committee had threatened to charge the ZPC board with contempt of Parliament for failing to meet deadlines on the project due to disputes with the contractor.
Shumba later withdrew the contempt of Parliament threats after Zesa bosses had given assurances that the project would commence soon.
“They have to work together in realising the generation of energy locally in order to save the country of having to source expensive electricity externally,” he said. “We are also happy that the parties have found each other and there are no longer disputes. The project will go a long way to develop the nation.”