BCC, Zesa debt im­passe con­tin­ues

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Bu­l­awayo City Coun­cil is charg­ing the Zim­babwe Elec­tric­ity Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany more than $800 000 monthly in roy­al­ties for the Bu­l­awayo Power Sta­tion as the two en­ti­ties con­tinue to dis­agree on com­pen­sa­tion to be paid by the power util­ity af­ter it took over the sta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est coun­cil re­port, the power util­ity now owes coun­cil $100,4 mil­lion while the lo­cal au­thor­ity on the other hand owes ZETDC $100,5 mil­lion for elec­tric­ity debt. The power util­ity re­port­edly re­neged on pay­ing roy­al­ties in 2008 hence the debt bal­looned to the cur­rent $100,4 mil­lion.

“Coun­cil is billing Zesa $860 284 as roy­alty charges per month, as at 31 Au­gust 2018 the roy­alty bill stood at $100 402 398. With re­gards to Zesa, the fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor, Mr Kimp­ton Ndi­mande re­ported that the case was now with the courts as the two en­ti­ties owed each other cer­tain amounts of money and there was need to re­solve this is­sue soon,” reads the coun­cil re­port.

Con­tacted for com­ment, coun­cil spokesper­son, Mrs Ne­sisa Mpofu also re­it­er­ated, Mr Ndi­mande’s sen­ti­ments say­ing the lo­cal au­thor­ity will only be able to com­ment on the matter once they had ex­hausted all court pro­cesses.

“The is­sue of Zesa roy­al­ties is be­fore the courts and as such we can­not com­ment on it. The City of Bu­l­awayo can only com­ment once the matter has been fi­nalised in the courts,” she said.

In 2016, ZETDC, a sub­sidiary of Zesa Hold­ings, ap­proached the High Court seek­ing an or­der com­pelling BCC to set­tle its power debt, which was then pegged at $80 mil­lion. BCC had made a counter claim be­fore the courts and the matter is still pend­ing.

Sources close to the matter how­ever, re­vealed that de­spite a re­cent deal struck be­tween ZETDC and BCC over the sup­ply of wa­ter from Khami Dam to the Bu­l­awayo Power Sta­tion for power gen­er­a­tion there is still bad blood be­tween the two en­ti­ties over the ac­tual own­er­ship of the power sta­tion.

“Coun­cil is ar­gu­ing that ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial records the build­ings in the power sta­tion still be­long to them as there is no doc­u­men­ta­tion on the ac­tual trans­fer of the struc­tures from BCC to Zesa hence this ac­tu­ally means the power sta­tion is still reg­is­tered un­der the coun­cil’s name.

“Fur­ther it is not like Zesa does not know that they have to pay the roy­al­ties, they are fully aware but I guess it is the fig­ure which they are dis­put­ing, the im­passe is ex­ac­er­bated by the fact that the power util­ity has not said how they will com­pen­sate coun­cil for the ac­tual struc­tures of the power sta­tion,” said the source.

Ac­cord­ing to a coun­cil con­fi­den­tial re­port the lo­cal au­thor­ity, a few years back, noted that while the two par­ties had dis­cussed the is­sue of roy­al­ties — which the power util­ity had re­neged on — the is­sue of com­pen­sa­tion for the prop­er­ties had re­mained “parked”.

“The in­ten­tion of the leg­is­la­ture (to trans­fer the power sta­tions) was for par­ties to ne­go­ti­ate mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able con­di­tions of all or any of the as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties of the lo­cal un­der­tak­ing. The min­utes that were in our pos­ses­sion did not show that there was ever any dis­cus­sion on the power sta­tion hence it was still reg­is­tered in the city of Bu­l­awayo’s name. This was our chance to fight for what right­fully be­longs to us. We can­not just hand it over for noth­ing,” reads part of the coun­cil re­port.

Con­tacted for com­ment Zesa spokesper­son, Mr Fullard Gwasira, while not com­ment­ing on the is­sue of the roy­al­ties ac­knowl­edged that most lo­cal au­thor­i­ties owed them huge sums of money and in some cases they had en­gaged debt col­lec­tors to recover what was owed to them.

Mr Fullard Gwasira

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.