#MondayBlues: The $ 13m Potraz Building Finally Ready, 10yrs Later.

It took a long time coming for the Postal and Telecommunication regulator, which for the past 5years, has been working towards finishing its permanent home at Emarald Park offices in Mount Pleasant, much to slow progress..

The minister of ICTPS, Supa Mandiwanzira fired the last Potraz board on funds mismanagement charges, and was on record saying that the new board will amongst its top priority, be looking into completion of the Potraz building.

By Sting 

The newly appointed Potraz Director General Dr Gift Machengete exclusively revealed to TechnoMag that they are likely to occupy the offices by the month end of July, this year, as they expedite the whole process.

Finally there seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, and Potraz will be saving a lot from the rentals, as they finally perch in their own nest.

#MondayBlues has been seeking to understand why it took Potraz a painful 5 years to complete their building, especially when millions had been availed for the project.

5 years ago, the then Potraz DG Mr Sibanda, revealed that they have been planning to have their own building, and the project had been in the pipeline, making it a total 10 years.

“The project commences immediately and is expected to be completed in 20 months,” he said.

“As some of you may be aware, the plan for POTRAZ to build and occupy its own home began over five years ago, the reason being that the postal and telecommunications industry has grown tremendously since the inception of POTRAZ in 2001. POTRAZ has seen rapid growth in terms of its staff complement to cater for the growth especially in the telecommunications sector.  POTRAZ requires more office space. I am glad that the long and vigorous process that we all went through has finally come to this point.

Investigation by #Mondayblues showed that, Mutual Construction, the company that won the tender 5 years ago, has been struggling to to complete the building as it got the tender over and above other more competent players, simply because it was under priced.

Some sources which chose to be anonymous stated that the State Procurement Board, SPB, hand picked Mutual Construction to take over the tender, while there were much more competent players to undertake the same project, at slightly higher rates.

However the Mutual Construction did not find it easy to finish off the construction, taking an antagonizing 5 years too, after a series of price reviews and renegotiations to complete the project.

The company is said to have been facing some operational challenges, which forced the whole project to delay as they incurred extra costs of security, maintenance and logistic after they lapsed into more years of operation.

The final price paid was now more than the initial bided price at tender and the contract had to be compromised as the supplier ended up requesting more fix and supply support, against the initial understanding of being paid after level completion.

Most state owned enterprises in Zimbabwe have bitterly complained about how SPB handle tenders and their role in choosing the contract winners, which has greatly compromise service delivery in Zimbabwe.

The whole bidding and tendering process in Zimbabwe has bled the country millions of dollars as some decisions and recommendations that have been made by SPB have proved to be fatal.

The Zimbabwe government is still yet to give state institutions full power to run without the interference of SPB, but mere consultations, while the board in some cases has been pointed to be corrupt and incompetent to handle specific tenders.

 

“ The SPB can not be the only board that knows it all and understands every sector, no one can master every sector, but they seem to know the best prices and practices for medicine, technology, arts physics and all sectors which is very ironic “ said analyst

Some sources solely blame them for the delay of the Potraz building as they were actively involved in picking the company that ended up having challenges in completing the building

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