BY SILAS NKALA
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it will, at the close of submission of tender bids next week, submit prospective solar power partners to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) for consideration.
The city also reported a high interest in the invitation to tender by both local and foreign companies.
Minutes of a BCC full council meeting held on Monday show that a total of nine companies are competing to partner the city in its ambitious solar power drive.
Bulawayo town clerk Christopher Dube reported to the meeting that in May this year, council had approved the guidelines in dealing with foreign investors, the minutes show.
“The guidelines required that management advised council and sought for approval to submit the projects to government agents to Zida for consideration. Management had since received numerous expressions of interest for solar projects,” the minutes read.
The solar projects listed for prospective investments are the Infuxion Power Distribution located at Farm 6 Plot 2 Victory Whitesrun Road UMzingwane, Liogle Technologies, Rishi Investments and Doncaster Belmont Bulawayo, NaNAANOVO Energy Zimbabwe Ltd, Satewave Technologies and Network Building Services Engineers.
Others are Williams Engineering, Dennis Garison representing Solar PV Partners Ltd and Fly Servicios de Construction from Madrid in Spain.
“It was recommended that management advise the council, and seek approval to submit the above projects to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) for guidance. The matter was considered,” the minutes further read.
The minutes indicated the issue became subject to a major debate among councillors who sought clarity on the nature of the proposed joint-venture arrangement.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube raised concern on those companies which did not specify the location where they intended to carry out the project.
He also sought clarity on the foreign investment policy.
“Was the council not supposed to have subjected the companies to expressions of interest?” Ncube asked.
He suggested that projects should be treated as they came and companies should identify sites, size and location. He also suggested that only the names of those companies that were responsive should be submitted to Zida.
“The names of the companies were Rish Investments; NaNaaNovo Energy, Mr B. Kaseke (Satewave Technologies) as well as Cottontree Engineering t/a Williams Engineering. The rest of the companies should be requested to submit adequate information,” read the minutes.
Councillor Silas Chigora concurred saying only those companies with sites should be approved.
He also said in terms of partnership, the companies should partner with the council.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni said there were five companies that did not indicate the size of the land they required for the project.
Responding to the concerns raised by the councillors, Dube, the town clerk said: “This proposal has been sent to Zida for further scrutiny. The companies had been subjected to a workshop by Zida. There was a need to look at those companies again in terms of technical feasibility and financial capacity. A lot of projects had been approved but only to discover that the company lacked capacity.”
He added: “Management had realised that there were many companies that had expressed interest. Zida would give council guidance but council would still continue with land alienation. Zida would clear all those companies who met the required specifications.”
The council resolved that approval be granted to submit the projects to Zida for guidance and the companies approved were Rishi Investments, NaNaaNovo Energy, Satewave Technologies, Cottontree Engineering t/a Williams Engineering while other companies were asked to provide additional information.
Bulawayo City Council is already embarking on the solar farm project in which it is courting various companies to invest in solar power production in the city areas with some cemeteries being earmarked for some of the projects.