‘Rope in private sector on biogas’

26 Sep, 2018 - 00:09 0 Views
‘Rope in private sector on biogas’ Mr Cannon Msimanga works on a plant for his client

The Chronicle

Business Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council should rope in the private sector to unlock business opportunity into biogas production by capitalising on bulk waste generated in the city, local entreprenuer and Songo Power Tech founder, Mr Cannon Msimanga, has said.

Despite having large quantities of biological waste that is lying idle across the city, Mr Msimanga said he has approached council on numerous occasions seeking greenlight to set up a biogas business but has not found any joy.

“There is a huge business potential for biogas in this city but the problem is our city council. They are not giving us the private sector a chance to champion this. The city council should give us the private sector these waste sites so that we generate business,” he said in an interview.

“In a modern world there is no need for council and other municipalities to be paying heavy waste disposal fees when the same waste is a raw material for biogas. The problem is that our by-laws are so archaic and they impede business growth.”

Biogas refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. It can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste.

While Zimbabwe is open for business, Mr Msimanga said some councils were not as their by-laws continue to frustrate business. These have to be reviewed to incentivise investment, especially by locals, he said.

“As a company we have tried to talk to the Bulawayo City Council about our intention to invest in biogas production since 2016 and we were told that it is them who should initiate that step. Early last year the council only notified of an expression of interest and we tendered our application but up to date there has not been any response, nothing has happened,” said Mr Msimanga.

He said the biogas generation opportunity could be unlocked by locals with no need at all for foreign investment. According to Mr Msimanga, Bulawayo has large amounts of waste that is lying idle and could be used profitably to meet energy the city’s needs.

“As a company we are ready to invest in this project. The problem is that our council lacks appreciation of potential from local firms but are open for business from foreign companies. What about us local citizens?

“Even banks like IDBZ have shown interest in funding renewable energy projects like biogas but how do we do that when council is closing us out,” said Mr Msimanga.

Responding to the concern, City of Bulawayo senior public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, confirmed the local authority did receive a letter from Songo Power Tech Company indicating interest on embarking on renewable energy projects in Bulawayo, which was dated 25th July 2016.

“Subsequently, council on the 27th July 2016 responded to the client advising of council procedure regarding such proposals. The client was advised that council was under a strict government directive to open up all project proposals to all would be investors through advertising for an expression of interest,” said Mrs Mpofu.

“Only this way could all interested parties be accommodated. He was advised that following the proposal, council could not grant the rights to produce biogas and generate electricity without going through requisite tender procedures.”

According to Mrs Mpofu, an advert for expression of interest was released by the City of Bulawayo in January 2017 and interested applicants applied accordingly.

Songo Power Tech is a young company based in Bulawayo that specialises in renewable energy production. It does electricity services and household and institutional biogas production and digester construction.

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