Govt needs $13,42m to settle Tokwe Dam arrears

Source: Govt needs $13,42m to settle Tokwe Dam arrears | The Herald September 29, 2016

From George Maponga recently in CHIVI

At least 12 million euros ($13,42 million) is urgently required to settle arrears owed by Government to Salini Impregilio, the contractor at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Chivi, where construction work is hanging in the balance. Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is now 96 percent complete, but there are fears the contractor might down tools again any moment over payment as Government has been struggling to raise the euro equivalent of money owed to the Italian contractor.

Salini Impregilio, resumed construction work in June this year after Government released over $40 million to settle part of the arrears to the firm.

According to the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam construction contract, part of the money to the contractor is paid in United States dollars, with another fraction paid in euros.

However, Government has been struggling to raise the euros to pay Salini causing delays in the completion of the project.

Sources said the dam would most likely fail to capture rains that will fall in the 2016 /17 season unless funding to electrify the gates was made available.

The 7-tonne gates that release water from Tokwe-Mukosi Dam cannot be operated manually and require electricity to function.

The Meteorological Services Department has already warned of floods in the forthcoming rainy season, and there are fears that the dam might be damaged if construction work is not completed soon.

Salini Impregilio project manager at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam Mr Urbano Luzo allayed fears the coming rains would affect the dam.

Mr Luzo also refused to disclose the effects of delays in paying his firm the 12 million euros outstanding arrears by Government.

“The dam is now 96 to 97 percent complete, but I am sorry I cannot discuss contractual issues with you. When the project will be eventually completed entirely depends on the employer (Government). They know when payments will be made and that will determine when the dam will be completed,’’ he said.

“All I can tell you is that the dam is very safe and we are very happy with the effort being made by the employer (Government) to provide funding required to finish the project. They (Government) know when the dam will start impounding water, everything depends on them,’’ added Mr Luzo.

Salini initially gave Government a notice to suspend work at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam on September 4 before backing down after getting assurances of payment from Government.

This was after permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr Willard Manungo visited the dam, recently.

Zinwa project manager at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam Engineer Paul Dengu, refused to shed light on the exact completion schedule of the dam.

‘’All I can tell you is that work is going on. We are doing touch-ups on the wall and also back-filling and rock-filling the downstream side of the dam. The question of when the dam will be completed is best answered by the contractor,’’ he said.

Last month, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, revealed that Government was facing challenges in settling its arrears to Salini owing to the skewed exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro.