BY LORRAINE NDEBELE
THE multi-million dollar Pomona waste-to-energy project, founded by Germany domiciled GeoGenix BV, has secured crucial regulatory approvals to kick–start, giving impetus to government’s plan to tackle Zimbabwe’s waste management crisis.
The project has faced a backlash from stakeholders, who have queried its legal status. This includes a High Court challenge filed on April 26 by Harare North MP and former Harare councillor Norman Markham, contesting the establishment of the plant. The project will see the Germans injecting €304 million (approximately US$344 million) to build an operation with capacity to generate 22 megawatts.
The power will be sold to state-owned power utility Zesa Holdings.
Geogenix BV is expected to enjoy duty exemptions on imported capital goods.
The firm’s country representative, Delish Nguwaya told the Zimbabwe Independent that the project had secured all regulatory approvals, with construction expected to start soon.
“We have received all the support from the government and we are good to go in terms of construction of the project. Everything is above board,” Nguwaya said without giving more details.
Documents gleaned by the Independent show that the German investor has since received approvals and guarantees from the ministries of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Finance and Economic Development, while the Environmental Management Agency will come in once the project starts.
The agreement will see Harare giving up its main dumpsite to Geogenix BV on a lease for the next 30 years, at the end of which the site will be handed over to the government by the company under a Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) arrangement.
The deal is expected to improve waste management and increase power supply.
Under the deal, the investor will design, build, operate and transfer the Pomona waste management facility to an energy plant.
Harare City will pay Geogenix BV US$40 per tonne of waste delivered and the stipulated daily delivery is at least 550 tonnes or a minimum of 200 750 tonnes per year – translating to US$8,03 million for Geogenix BV in the first year.
During the second year, the daily tonnage is expected to increase to 650; before rising to 750 in the third year; 850 in the fourth year and 1 000 at the start of the fifth year, meaning Harare will pay Geogenix BV a minimum US$14,6 million annually starting in 2027 until 2052.
Government is encouraging local authorities to open up similar projects in other cities and towns as a way to ensure environmentally-friendly management of waste in the country.
The deal follows a feasibility study conducted by a reputable international company and it is expected that the project will have a positive impact on Harare’s quest to go green.