Millions of dollars worth of electrification equipment is reportedly lying idle in the rural areas due to alleged failure by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to utilise it, chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy Edward Chindori-Chininga has said.
He spoke as the committee was quizzing REA over progress in rural electrification since its inception in 1999.
REA acting chief executive officer Josphat Muzilikazi told the committee his organisation was failing to complete the electrification projects due to lack of equipment.
We are failing to complete some projects because some of the equipment that was procured has some parts missing, said Muzilikazi.
If we are going to mobilise all the equipment lying idle throughout the country, we would be able to complete all projects because what happened was that material came from China and conductors were transported to the places where electrification was to take place only to find that there were no transformers or complete consignments to complete the projects.
Muzilikazi also told the committee if rural electrification projects were to be speeded up, REA should be allowed to do its own procurement of materials instead of going through the State Procurement Board.
We face problems in that government might allocate money to REA, but the speed to channel it towards projects is hampered by the turnaround time to acquire materials because we do that through the State Procurement Board and it takes half a year for us to get those materials.
In as much as we would want to go through the State Procurement Board, we want to be liberated from them so that we access our materials to address the backlog, he said.