'Harare has enough water chemicals'

HARARE - Harare City Council has assured its rate payers that water treatment chemicals will be available until a new supplier is found.

The State Procurement Board (SPB), on Tuesday flighted a tender for water treatment chemicals for local authorities.

This follows a ministerial directive to disband municipal procurement committees.

Councillors interrogated the executive during a council meeting on Tuesday amid fears that the city’s water supply may be compromised by delays in the SPB processes.

Councillor Peter Moyo questioned if the local authority had buffer chemicals to cushion citizens until the tender was won.

“Do we have enough chemicals to cover Harare until we have another supplier because we all know that the SPB takes its time?” queried Moyo.

Chamber secretary Josephine Ncube assured council that everything was in order.

“The SPB has given us the green light to continue receiving from our current supplier (Chemplex) until the process is finalised.

“We have even gone further to make a provision with the supplier to set aside granular aluminium sulphate in case they fail to supply it in liquid form, so we are covered,” said Ncube.

Finance minister Tendai Biti issued a directive instructing all councils to stop handling any tenders with the mandate being transferred to the SPB after an increase in tender scams within councils.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last year set up a commission that investigated Harare council and results showed that $1 million had been lost in flawed tender deals.

Biti passed the Statutory Instrument amid stiff resistance from local authorities.

Councils felt that the centralisation of procurement was a huge setback as this was not in tandem with a progressive society.

All tenders above the figure of $300 000 for ordinary tenders and $1 million are now referred to the SPB.

The new tender, if handled properly, may alleviate shortages of water treatment chemicals for Harare as Chemplex was struggling to provide the required amounts on time due to financial constraints.

Harare’s water treatment bill stands at $3 million per month. - Wendy Muperi

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