Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
Hotspeck, a subsidiary of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), has secured a pole treatment deal with a Mozambican company, that will be instrumental in generating foreign currency and increasing utilisation of the firm’s state-of-the-art pole treatment plant in Mutare.
The deal, which is expected to be sealed by end of February, will see the company treating 18 000 cubic meters of timber from Infloma, a joint venture between the government of Mozambique and a South African company.
Infloma will pay for Hotspeck’s services in foreign currency, a development that will significantly ease reliance on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe foreign currency allocations to import some chemicals needed in the treatment of poles.
In an interview, Manicaland provincial administrator Mr Edgars Seenza confirmed the deal, which is part of a number of projects being undertaken by the provinces of Manicaland and Manica to enhance economic co-operation between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“Mozambique does not have a pole treatment plant in Manica or Tete province. In fact, the only pole treatment plant is in Maputo. So the Mozambican company, Infloma, has expressed interest in bringing in their poles for treatment at Hotspeck rather than transport them to Maputo which is more expensive and time consuming because of the distance. The company wants to use the Cashel border post to bring in the timber and they will pay for the services in foreign currency,” he said.
Hotspeck is responsible for treating all the poles used by REF during rural electrification exercises across the country.
It has a fully automated plant that can treat poles at a faster rate than any other plant in the country.
The company currently treats poles for use by REF as well as for other Timber companies in the country.
Mr Seenza said the plant, which was acquired in Denmark in 2012, is the only one of its kind in Africa and the second plant would be installed in Kenya sometime this year.
“REA realised that it has to generate forex in order to be able to purchase some materials needed for the plant, but here we had this gem that is not known and not being fully utilised. So this is a win-win deal for both companies,” he said.
He said the company had recently secured forex from the RBZ to bring in engineers from Denmark to service the plant.
“We will then take that opportunity to have the engineers from Denmark train our local people to service the plant themselves and eliminate the need to bring in foreign personnel in future,” he said.
While the deal is being finalised, Mr Seenza said Infloma would bring in 2 000 poles for treatment needed urgently by the power utility company in Mozambique.
He said a consignment of 310 poles was already on its way into Zimbabwe via the Forbes-Machipanda border post.