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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Zesa’s US$12m bulb tender cancelled

Friday, 30 September 2011 02:00

Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter

THE State Procurement Board has cancelled all tenders for the supply of 5,5 million energy-saving bulbs because bidders failed to meet set requirements.

This will result in Zesa Holdings delaying the distribution of the bulbs worth US$12 million.

Zesa decided to distribute free compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which will result in the country saving 200 megawatts.

This energy is enough to cater for half of Harare, the whole of Bulawayo or at least four small cities like Gweru, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare.

Twelve bidders that had forwarded their tenders under a special formal tender process are now complaining that the cancellation was done under unclear circumstances.

They said the reasons were "illogical".

It is understood that the power utility is now considering floating an informal tender for new bidders.

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri said it was the SPB that cancelled the tenders.

Said Eng Chinembiri: "We can recommend, but it is their decision (to either award or cancel the tenders)."

SPB chairman Mr Charles Kuwaza yesterday confirmed the cancellation of the tenders.

"We subsequently de-briefed the bidders on the reasons for cancellation. Some of the bidders are complaining that the cancellation was not in good faith and we are working together with the accounting officer to respond to these technical questions before the next tender is floated, whether formal or informal," he said.

Bidders who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity said reasons for the cancellation were not satisfactory.

They suspected there was a hidden hand behind the cancellation.

"They told us that we had failed to conform to the specifications like labelling the bulbs "ZETDC, not for sale" when other specifications which matter most like frequency, voltage and wattage had been met.

"These were just samples for God's sake. If one wins the tender that is when it can make sense to label them that way," said one of the bidders.

Another said some of the bidders represented big manufacturers such as Philips and Osram.

"If one says a bulb from Philips or Osram is not good enough, it just boggles the mind because those are the biggest bulb manufacturers in the world.

"Besides, ZETDC is currently selling Philips bulbs supplied by one of the bidders so we don't understand why they turned down the tender of companies representing big bulb manufacturers," he said.

A source said there had been a change of goalposts on when the bulbs would have to be delivered.

The source said the tender requirement was that the bulbs would have to be delivered in three months, but Zesa was now saying they wanted them delivered in six weeks.

"For the six week period to be met, it would translate to about 60 bulbs being manufactured per second which big companies said was not possible because on average they produce about 20 per second.

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