By Staff Reporter
Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company (ZFC) says they were denied the opportunity to participate in the Presidential Input Scheme despite being owned 50% by the government of Zimbabwe.
Due to challenges in the economy, the government has become the largest buyer of fertiliser in the country through its various agricultural schemes such as Command Agriculture and the Presidential Input Scheme.
Although ZFC has previously participated in the input programs, this year they were dribbled by the government which they alleged to have played hide and seek leading to the awarding of the whole contract Fert Seed Grain (FSG).
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlements, during a tour on the company’s Aspindale Plant, ZFC managing director Richard said they knocked on all the doors but got no joy.
“We did not see the tender, we knocked on government doors trying to understand what was going to happen to the Presidential Input Scheme but they said they were not the ones who are responsible.
“We have knocked on all doors and so as we stand here I cannot tell you who the contracting part is because I don’t know but government owns ZFC 50 % we can give you all the documents that show you that Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) own 50% and when we opened this new plant, the Minister he acknowledged that indeed government owns 50%,” he said.
ZFC shareholding stands as follows Chemplex (IDC) 50%, YZ Holdings 22.5% and TA Holdings 27.5%.
Dafana added that they are not worried about who got the contract but are worried about who gave it and how it was given.
“Who got it is not the problem, FSG said they got it but who gave them the contract we don’t know and we can’t answer that.
“Why we were not asked to participate we don’t know and we cannot answer that as well,” he said.
ZFC said they have fully supplied to all their previous inputs contracts from previous years and documents are available publicly to prove it.
Meanwhile, the company has also revealed that have had to put their less expensive plant on ice due to power situations currently bedevilling the country.
“To start this plant first you have to raise steam at the boilers there it takes about 4 to 5 hours to raise the steam then you got to raise the furnace then you have to have these drums rotating and it takes you about 5 to 6 hours to get the plant to a steady-state once you are there and then Zesa goes off.
“Right now we are getting power from 6 pm to 7 am the next morning so you can’t switch it on and off you will damage the plant.
“So we decided that until we reach an agreement with ZESA on how they will assure us of unreliable power then we won’t start this plant which we shut down in February this year,” he said.
ZFC wants the Agriculture Committee to help it secure funding as well as being considered for government inputs schemes.