China Exim Bank loan equipment lies idle  

Helen Kadirire

THE Harare City Council (HCC) is yet to utilise equipment it bought with part of a US$144 million China Exim Bank loan it was granted in 2015 to improve water reticulation systems and infrastructure in the capital, the Daily News reports.

According to the council’s recent audit committee minutes, the machines are lying idle since they were purchased.
The machines were supposed to be used for information communication technology (ICT) work on the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray water treatment works.
“The audit manager made findings such as lack of implementation of disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan on ICT systems and equipment, non-implementation of some council resolutions, inadequate data centre security…HCC had no valid Microsoft licence…Chinese loan printers and photocopiers were lying idle and a delay in implementation of the document management system,” read part of the minutes.
Town clerk Hosiah Chisango said the whole ICT department needed an overhaul to fix the issues raised in the audit.
He said chief among them was to ensure that the safety system of the data centre is stored at a different location and the storage facility of the CCTV is securely backed-up.
“With regard to the Chinese equipment that is lying idle, we will have to urgently procure and replace all the printer consumables for the heavy duty printers and photocopiers we got with the Chinese loan,” Chisango said.
HCC received the $144 million China Exim Bank loan for the refurbishment of Morton Jaffray water treatment works and other facilities whose rehabilitation was supposed to have been completed in 2017.
The $144 million loan has been a bone of contention with resident associations after an audit in 2014 revealed that part of the money was used to purchase top-of-the-range vehicles under the guise of “project cars”.
Ignatius Chombo, then minister of Local Government, defended the purchase of the cars, stating that the directors were within their right to buy them.

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