SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Helcraw Electrical, a company owned by Harare businessman Farai Jere, has scooped a deal worth $348 million to supply the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) with pre-paid water meters.
In a notification of competitive bidding contract awards in the Government Gazette yesterday, Zinwa announced that the supply of the meters was awarded to three firms.
“Helcraw Electrical’s contract value is at $348 346 931,78 while Satewave Technology contract value is at $278 299 937,84 and Finmark Energy contract value is at $9 251 163,21,” reads part of the notice
The pre-paid water meter contracts were awarded from January to December last year.
The water authority which is owed in excess of $150 million by consumers, is of the persuasion that the new system would enable it to enforce payment for water use as well as force defaulters to clear arrears.
The cost of a prepaid meter is between US$300 and US$500 per unit.
Zinwa started rolling out a programme to install 35 000 bulk pre-paid smart water meters in July last year targeting local authorities, farmers and other consumers.
Zinwa targets to complete pre-paid meters installation by this year in a bid to see consumers paying bills based on actual consumption as opposed to estimates.
Though there have been concerns amongst residents, who spiritedly objected to the move, the pre-paid meters scheme has helped Zesa Holdings(Zesa) recover debts for electricity use.
For electricity purchase, Zesa levies a percentage to clear customer debts thereby clearing debts that were accrued for years.
Water is an indispensable commodity, a right and one that should be enjoyed by every citizen regardless of their social or economic status as enshrined in the Constitution.
However, the need for collective responsibility among water consumers in bill payments remains a necessity as the water authority needs revenue for water treatment chemicals as well as resources to protect water sources.
As such, new ways that ensure effective revenue collection remain a priority as opposed to the traditional post-paid system, which allows consumers to access water without paying dues.