Zimbabwe’s national procurement office has scrapped a 100 MW solar PV project in Gwanda, in the south of the country, after disagreements with the bidding contractors.

The State Procurement Board awarded the tender to China Jiangxi Corporation, which submitted the lowest bid of US$184 million to supply the 100 MW solar PV plant.

However, the board states that China Jiangxi then tried to increase the price to US$207 million arguing that the new price included duties and taxes.

Cledwyn Nyanhete, principal officer of the State Procurement Board, said the reasons for increased costs were not justifiable and in contravention of the Procurement Act, and on July 31, 2014 wrote to China Jiangxi cancelling the tender.

When the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) went back to the two losing bidders – Intratrek Zimbabwe and ZTE Corporation – they agreed to drop their prices of US$248 million and US$358.3 million respectively to match the winning bid of US$184 million. However, the procurement board then cancelled all three tenders and has yet to offer an explanation.

Blow to power plan

ZPC, the power generation division of state utility Zesa Holdings, announced the tender last July saying it was looking to engage a partner for “funding, engineering and construction” of the solar power plant.

The solar park, which was due to be built within nine months to a year, was predicted to be one of the biggest in Africa, supplying power to thousands of homes.

The collapse of the tendering process leaves Zimbabwe with a hole to plug in its power generation strategy as the southern African country strives to delivers about 1,200 MW, against peak power demand of about 2,200 MW.

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