Harare seeks partnership with smart meter manufacturer

Harare City Council has tasked acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, to open business negotiations with an Egyptian firm, EL Sewedy Electrometer, to start a manufacturing plant for prepaid smart water meters, minutes of the business committee state.

By XOLISANI NCUBE

“The committee was further advised that the primary objective of the formation of EL Sewedy Zimbabwe was to establish a joint venture under a public-private partnership with City of Harare and roll out the prepaid smart commercial water meters in the city,” the minutes read.

Council has rolled out the smart metering exercise in residential areas as a way of ensuring people pay for consumed water and improve revenue collection from the supplying of the life-saving commodity.

But now, council wants to establish a plant in Harare in partnership with EL Sewedy, which is said to be a giant in manufacturing of electrical goods and a host of other engineering products.

“The company has established similar projects in Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia,” the minutes stated.

As a way to ensure the project is fast-tracked and avoid being duped, council resolved to send a delegation to Egypt for a due diligence exercise before a final joint venture agreement is signed.

“The acting town clerk be authorised to sign a memorandum of understanding with EL Sewedy Zimbabwe culminating into a joint venture agreement for the establishment of a prepaid smart water meter manufacturing plant in Harare as well as to finance, instal and manage the commercial prepaid smart water meters for the city and to supply other cities in Southern Africa,” the minutes read.

After fights with civic organisations, council eventually started installing prepaid water meters in parts of the city last year.

These new terminals are meant to provide residents with a prepaid water system that provides water on a pay-per-use basis.

According to the local authority, the system will have a feature that allows defaulting residents to get some water on credit.

The move to have EL Sewedy in a partnership deal with Harare comes as the local authority has approved its investment policy that focuses on creating job and business opportunities for Harare through establishing a platform for joint venture agreements.

The policy, which was tabled by the finance committee before the full council, states that the local authority was pushing for value addition and moving to hi-tech projects that focus on information communication and technology systems.