Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has awarded three companies tenders to install pre-paid meters as the authority moves away from the post-paid meter, legislators have heard.
The three firms, Helcraw Electrical, Satewave Technology and Finmark Energy are expected to mobilise their own resources for the installation and recoup investment.
This was said recently by Zinwa chief executive Engineer Taurai Maurikira while giving oral evidence before Parliament’s portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.
The committee chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena had invited Zinwa to explain the award of tender for the pre-paid water meters.
“The tender is on the installation of prepaid water meters. The contract was put in place to ensure that Zinwa collects enough revenue to see it executing its mandate.
“Over the years we have been saddled by a growing number of debtors where the authority was owed above $1 billion and this affected its operations. One of its strategic measures to ensure that it supplies water was to have prepaid water meters. This would ensure payment of water before consumption,” said Eng Maurikira.
“The current post-paid scenario has proved to be unsustainable. The authority had no capacity to finance, so it flighted a tender where bidders were supposed to look for finance, install the meter and recoup their investment as we sell the water. It was not a front end loaded financing model.”
Explaining how they awarded the three firms, Zinwa said all the six bidders failed to meet the technical requirements and the financial proposals were therefore not opened.
Eng Maurikira said the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe eventually guided Zinwa to invite the six firms to resubmit bids under a restricted tender in with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act. He said after a meeting with the six, only three bidders resubmitted.
Cde Wadyajena, however, asked Zinwa to furnish the committee with a letter from PRAZ giving the directions on resubmission as well as a letter from Zinwa inviting the resubmission.
Zinwa failed to submit both the letters including the minutes of a meeting that Zinwa said it held with all the six bidders.
Legislators also queried Zinwa why Helcraw was awarded the tender when the authority had asked PRAZ to make a due diligence on the firm given that it was involved in a tender row with Zesa which was pending before the courts.
Eng Maurikira said upon consultations with PRAZ there got proceeded to award it with the tender.
The introduction of prepaid water meters is a first in Zimbabwe and is also in sync with emerging trends in water resources management. The initial phase will see 35 000 clients in the 534 water supply stations across the 20 service centres having prepaid meters installed for them while the rest of the clients will get their meters in the subsequent phases.
The roll out of the meters follows successful piloting in Mvurwi and Chivhu since 2019.
At least 300 clients, equally distributed between the two towns, received the prepaid meters in the pilot phase.