|Don’t jeopardise Green Fuel project, says Arda|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 15:45|
Government’s proposed joint venture in the Chisumbanje ethanol project should secure the value of the US$1,4 billion invested by the other partners, Agricultural Rural Development Authority board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza has said.
The plant was built under a 20-year Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement between Arda, Macdom and Rating Investments to form a petroleum company, Green Fuel.
Said Mr Nyabadza: “As Arda, we are saying we like to see a situation where the proposed changes will not undermine further financing of the project.
“The magnitude of investment, which is US$1,4 billion has to be nurtured in a business manner that secures long term investment for all Arda Estates countrywide.”
Arda is facing financial challenges in running its estates across the country.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, on Monday announced that Cabinet resolved to transform the ethanol project into a joint venture between Government and the private investors.
Mr Nyabadza said transactions that jeorpadise the project might lead to the collapse of other future Arda projects countrywide.
“The investments in Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi are the cornerstone for development and resuscitation of all Arda estates countrywide. We hope that any decision on the project will be reached by consent, discussion, input and evaluation of the project,” said Mr Nyabadza.
He said the agriculture sector was facing numerous challenges where farm produce was being exported in raw form.
Mr Nyabadza said the ethanol plant project sought to market sugarcane and its products within a village set-up such as Chisumbanje.
In a statement, Green Fuel said the BOT between Arda, Macdom and Rating Investments was done in compliance with the Arda Act (Chapter18:01)
Green Fuel pointed out that the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development was kept briefed on all developments regarding the BOT since its inception.
“They (BOTs) were approved by the Arda board and signed on the 19th of March 2009 by the Arda general manager in terms of section 17 of the said Act.
“There is correspondence between Arda and its parent Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development indicating that the Minister was kept abreast of all the negotiations and legal formalities leading to the finalisation of the B.O.T agreements,” reads part of the statement.
Green Fuel said it welcomed the Cabinet decision to allow for optional marketing of E20 up to E100 and permission to export excess ethanol without hindrance.