Harare ordered to dump middlemen in buying water treatment chemicals

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By Idah Mhetu

GOVERNMENT Friday ordered the Harare City Council and other local authorities to abandon all the tenders they had been using to procure water treatment chemicals.

In place of the tenders, Local Government Minister July Moyo said, municipalities should rope in Chemplex Corporation in order to reduce the use of scarce foreign currency.

Speaking during a recent tour of Morton Jaffray Water Works he had with Harare City Council officials, Moyo said the country’s most densely populated local authority was too big to be sourcing for all its nine chemicals through middlemen.

“There is a lot of inflating of tenders which could be cartels and you as engineers could end up being caught up in the scandals but I think at some point we should cancel some of these tenders,” said the Minister.

Moyo said government has resolved to use Chemplex Corporation for importation of chemicals needed for water treatment.

Government has also ordered the City of Harare, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and all the other councils to start using the company.

Chemplex Corporation is a parastatal which manufactures fertiliser and chemicals.

“Government has come up with an institution called Chemplex, which is supposed to have import substitution,” said Moyo.

“Harare is too big to source from business people but manufacturers.

“Harare uses nine chemicals and all the other chemicals in other local authorities should only be imported through Chemplex.

“So, the Reserve Bank has been ordered to have Chemplex as the number one institution that will order the requirements needed by all the councils and Zinwa,” he said.

Moyo said Chemplex, as a manufacturer, is able to resuscitate its production of other water treatment chemicals such as lime.

The company used to manufacture Aluminium Sulphate (Al3SO4) and lime which was used for portable water treatment by the City of Harare and other municipalities in the country.

It was then stopped when the lime Chemplex was mining was no longer meeting council’s needs.

“At the same time, Chemplex has the ability to resuscitate some of its productions such as lime which is needed by the local authorities,” added Moyo.

Harare was further ordered to reduce its water treatment chemicals from nine types to three or four.

Government also directed all Municipalities in the country and Zinwa to stop using chlorine gas and start using chlorine dioxide which he said it can be manufactured in situ.

This decision was made in order for the central bank to minimise the use of foreign currency in councils.

“In the case of chlorine gas which has been giving us problems, we have directed that all the local authorities as well as ZINWA use chlorine dioxide because it can be manufactured in situ and we can minimise again the issue of foreign currency outlay that has to be needed.

“Ofcourse there will be some small foreign currency that will remain a source for either inputs for the manufacture of chlorine dioxide or others in terms of Chemplex,” said Moyo.