THE Ministry of Energy and Power Development has dismissed widespread misgivings on the ability of companies who were awarded tenders for the country’s solar energy projects, including deals signed by controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
This comes at a time Zesa Holdings has reportedly started a process to review the tenders because of his criminal record.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment with labour, with two years suspended, after being found guilty of stealing Z$37 665 000 through false pretence in 2004.
Chivayo was also in the eye of a storm when he was controversially roped in the tender in 2014 after initially losing the bid to China Jiangxi Corporation (CJC) .
In response to enquiries by the Zimbabwe Independent on the suitability of those awarded the solar energy contracts by the Zimbabwe Power Company namely Chivayo’s company, Intratek, ZTE and No.17 Metallurgical, the ministry said the three were extensively assessed adding that it was “unbefitting” to claim that the solar tenders were awarded to inexperienced companies.
“Contractors for the three solar projects were selected through a competitive tendering process conducted by the State Procurement Board (SPB). A total of six bidders responded to the Request for Proposals (RFP) on the solar tenders. The RFP requested for technical, funding and commercial/price requirements, and bidders were required to demonstrate their technical and funding experience,” the ministry said.
“On technical experience, bidders were instructed to provide a list of reference plants and contractors’ involvement [Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)/Subcontractor/Consultant], as well as letters of authorisation from manufacturers and principals.
“Under funding, bidders had to demonstrate their funding ability and state suggested percentage finance offered (in relation to EPC value). They also had to demonstrate their level of credit approval or certainty of financing offered, and attach proof. Tenor and pricing of debt and fees, conditions and security/guarantees, as well as experience of EPC contractor or consortium in providing this type of financing were all part of the funding requirements.”
The ministry said the three had been awarded tenders after meeting the criteria for the projects.
Intratek, the ministry revealed, was a wholly owned Zimbabwean firm which had partnered with Chinese firm Chint, for the construction of a 100 megawatt solar plant in Gwanda.
“Due diligence on Chint confirmed that they have vast experience in the construction of solar power plants. Some of their work involves construction of a 100MW solar power station in Ningxia China which was commissioned in 2009 and a 100MW PV solar power station in Yongchang which they commissioned in December 2012,” the ministry said.
“They have also done smaller projects such as the 5,5 MW solar PV power station in Thailand which they commissioned in 2011. All these power plants have not had any negative record since they were commissioned, indicating that their work is of superior standards.”
The ministry added that No 17 Metallurgical and ZTE have proven track records in solar generation.