Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Government has reappointed Chemplex Corporation, the country’s largest chemical and fertiliser maker as the sole water chemicals’ provider for all local authorities as a measure to promote import substitution, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo has said.
Minister Moyo made the remarks last Friday during his assessment tour of Morton Jaffray water treatment works. He was accompanied by Harare City Council town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango and Mayor Hebert Gomba. The plant was temporarily shut down last month due to lack of treatment chemicals and Government intervened by pouring over $37 million to resuscitate the operations.
He said it was time for the local authority to use at least three chemicals for water purification rather than nine chemicals which were being imported.
“In the immediate past we have been having problem with water chemicals and together led by the Ministry of Water,Climate we have had to take some steps to solve the issue of chemicals,” he said.
“You are using nine chemicals but we want to reduce them to three or four and we noted that you were ordering from everyone(chemicals) and we have said in the past Government has invested in Chemplex and it has been tasked with the responsibility to have import substitution on chemicals”.
Harare used to get lime from Chemplex but later stopped after the quality standards had gone down and began to import it from Zambia.
Minister Moyo said the chemical company will now resume supply of the lime and is the only one mandated to import from Zambia.The company also supplies chlorine dioxide.
“We have said only Chemplex will order from Zambia for every local authority and Chemplex should give us a programme where they can now go and mine quality lime so that we do not have to continue importing,” he said.
He said the development is aimed at domesticating the water purification chemicals rather than relying on importing the same using foreign currency.
“The issue of water chemicals is so critical for us to rely on outsiders and to rely on forex and that is why we want to domestic everything we are doing about water purification. Let us fail when we have domesticated it but not because we have failed to get foreign currency. If we shout at each other because our workers’ complex management is failing to produce, we know that we can whip them into line but we cannot whip foreign currency into line,” said Minister Moyo.
Minister Moyo said by reappointing Chemplex, Government had not taken away the fact that Harare City Council is the water authority and it is still the one making the chemical orders. On the issue of importation of chlorine gas supply, Government has since approved to substitute it with local chlorine dioxide.
“The bottleneck that we are having with chlorine gas we want to eliminate it. As Government through the Ministry of Water on certain occasions, we had to be led by them and we have analysed and seen that we can substitute chlorine gas with chlorine dioxide and on that project Cabinet has said let the cities, everybody do it, let’s move ahead,” said Minister Moyo.
Meanwhile, the new developments will not affect the process of two shortlisted companies that are before Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe which intend to provide other water chemicals.