Government to review licences on solar projects

Dorcas Rumano

The Government will embark on a process of reviewing investor’s solar licences with the intention of withdrawing permits from non- performing organisations, a Cabinet Minister has revealed.

Speaking during the side-lines of Cabinet briefing yesterday, Minister of Energy and Power Development, Fortune Chasi said some solar licences were granted to some investors in 2015, and as Government there was need to understand if they were still interested in investing in their projects.

He said, “I am expecting updates from them (solar investors) as to where we are, because some of them are from 2015. We need to understand whether they are actually serious about investing, and in situations where we are satisfied that there is nothing that’s happening, we will naturally take the necessary steps to withdraw the licence.

“We want to bring an end to the practice of getting a licence and then selling it to somebody else. I have made that point clear to ZERA that prospective investors must show seriousness by giving us proof of their resources that they intend to use in their projects.”  

In addition, the Minister said Intratek Zimbabwe, which was awarded a tender for a solar project, by ZESA, should either return Government funds or set the solar project in accordance with the contract.

“I am determined to ensure that those funds are either returned to Government, they are public funds, or there is a project that is in place in accordance with the contract.

“I intend of course to identify, because I have been informed that there is a number of irregularities on how that money was paid.

“Each and every person who violated the law, in particular, the Public Finance Management Act or any other internal regulations at ZESA must do good for the loss that we have suffered,” he said.

He added, “ZESA as an organisation must have the necessary integrity to deal with people who conduct themselves or who collude with outsiders to the detriment of the public.”

Owner of Intratek Zimbabwe, Wicknell Chivhayo was awarded a $202 million Gwanda Solar Power project in 2015. He was controversially paid an advance of $5 million for the project. The project remains in limbo to date.