Geiger to decide on 40% share for Zimbabwe firms

Geiger to decide on 40% share for Zimbabwe firms
Published: 05 September 2017 (1126 Views)
GEIGER International, the Austrian firm contracted to dualise the Harare-Beitbridge Highway will make a formal invitation for bids from local companies, detailing the scope and specifications of works they will undertake under the 40 percent share of the project earmarked for them.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo, said this and clarified that the agreement with Geiger International was firmly in place regarding the portion of works that has been reserved for local companies.

Minister Gumbo said this in an interview with our Harare Bureau following indications recently that there was no agreement between local contractors nor common industry strategy on how local contractors would benefit from the share of the project earmarked for them.

Reports also indicated that some contractors had sought clarity and direction from Government regarding how, exactly, local construction companies would benefit from the multi-million dollar project, but were reportedly told to approach the contractor and negotiate on their own contracts under this project.

According to the Government, Geiger has already set up camp in Masvingo while their head office had been established in Harare.

The firm is also said to be putting together final touches regarding certain key conditions, such as appointing an independent engineer to verify the project costing and tax exemptions, only granted when most other aspects have been addressed.

Dr Gumbo said the position agreed between the Government and the contractor remained unchanged, stressing that the contractor was still doing the preparatory works that would enable them to determine the kind of works or roles local companies would perform in the dualisation of the highway.

"What I know is that we have a Government policy, in terms of which we agreed that when the contractors commence the project, 40 percent will be ring-fenced for local companies, but at this point, they have not specified the works," he said.

"However, they will first advertise which services they will put under the 40 percent share for locals.

"They have not yet done that because there is still some processes they are still working on.

"If there are problems, I am not aware of them or where exactly the problems are coming from," the minister said. "What I know for certain is the policy will be honoured by the contractor."

Minister Gumbo said it was the Government, which came up with the initiative that 40 percent of the $984 million project be earmarked for local companies adding the share of the project would be advertised according to the six segments into which the highway between Harare and Beitbridge will be divided.

"They will advertise for local companies and others who will take up those jobs, but they have not done that because we have not yet reached the stage," he said.

There has also been concern that the contractor may set job specifications and conditions that local companies may not be able to meet, thereby making it difficult for local construction entities to benefit from the project.

"I have not heard about the conditions, but what I know is that 40 percent will go to locals. If someone says the conditions are stringent, I wonder who told them because no one is clear yet what the contractor expects of local firms.

"If the contractor wants locals to provide quarry, who cannot do such work, if they have to provide sand, can't they do that or if they have to use their bulldozers to clear trees for the road, how can they not be able to do that?

"So there is need for patience, let our people not be overzealous.

"The process is moving according to stages, road construction does not have short cuts, there are conditions that must be fulfilled first by the contractor, who is now on the ground already, they came in July and already have the surveyors working, studying the soil types, what is needed and where bridges will be built," he said.

Minister Gumbo said the contractor had already advertised for the surveyor and was now in the process of recruiting the independent engineer for the project.

- chronicle

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