Sydney Kawadza Senior Reporter
The Zambezi River Authority has engaged Ernst & Young as financial and legal transaction advisors for the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme.
Addressing an inception workshop in Livingstone recently, ZRA chief executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the Financial and Legal Transaction Advisory Services Contract sat on the critical path of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme development plan as the consultant is expected to analyse the different transaction structures, including options for Public Private Partnerships, or Build, Operate, Transfer or Engineering Procurement and Construction.
“The advisors would recommend the most optimum and bankable structure that takes into consideration the prevailing market conditions, priorities of the stakeholders involved and the technical parameters and development schedule resulting from the updated feasibility study
The advisory services team comprises international experts in finance and legal services.
Participants were drawn from the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme Project Steering Committee and the Project Management Unit appointed by the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The financial and legal advisors component completes the list of the vital project preparatory works which have taken three years to be concluded.
Eng Munodawafa commended the World Bank for financing the preparatory studies of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme through a grant under the Co-operation in International Waters in Africa.
According to ZRA, these preparatory studies consist of: updating of the engineering feasibility studies, updating of environmental and social impact assessment studies as well as the financial and legal transaction advisory services.
Eng Munyaradzi also assured the stakeholders and the consultants that the two governments were committed to making timely decisions necessary for the services to be completed as planned.
“The Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe are aware that the success and speedy implementation of the assignment will depend on decisions to be made by the two Governments.”
Ernst & Young presented the scope of their work in the infrastructure and project finance for the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme which included the relevant steps required from their advisory services.
They clarified the role of project finance in infrastructure development and the requirement for due diligence in such processes for effective implementation of the project.
It is against this background that the team brings on board technical, financial as well as legal expertise for carrying out the exercise.
Eng Munodawafa urged the three consultants Studio Pietrangeli, Environmental Resource Management and Ernst & Young to work closely as their processes and outputs were interrelated and the results thereof are critical to effective and timeous execution of the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme.