Government has reappointed Chemplex Corporation, the country's largest chemical and fertiliser maker, as the sole water chemicals provider for all local authorities, as a measure to promote import substitution, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo has said.
Minister Moyo made the remarks last Friday during his assessment tour of Morton Jaffray water treatment works in Harare.
He was accompanied by Harare City Council town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango and Mayor Herbert Gomba.
The plant was temporarily shut down last month due to lack of treatment chemicals and Government intervened by pouring over $37 million to resuscitate the operations.
He said it was time for the local authority to use at least three chemicals for water purification rather than nine chemicals which were being imported.
"In the immediate past, we have been having problem with water chemicals and together, we have had to take some steps to solve the issue of chemicals," said Minister Moyo.
"You are using nine chemicals, but we want to reduce them to three or four and we noted that you were ordering from everyone and we have said in the past Government has invested in Chemplex and it has been tasked with the responsibility to have import substitution on chemicals".
Harare used to get lime from Chemplex, but later stopped after quality standards had gone down and began to import from Zambia.
Minister Moyo said the chemical company will now resume supply of the lime and is the only one mandated to import from Zambia.
The company also supplies chlorine dioxide.
"We have said only Chemplex will order from Zambia for every local authority and Chemplex should give us a programme where they can now go and mine quality lime so that we do not have to continue importing," he said.
Minister Moyo said the development was aimed at domesticating the water purification chemicals rather than relying on importing the same using foreign currency.
"The issue of water chemicals is so critical for us to rely on outsiders and to rely on forex and that is why we want to domesticate everything we are doing about water purification," he said.
"Let us fail when we have domesticated it, but not because we have failed to get foreign currency."
Minister Moyo said by re-appointing Chemplex, Government had not taken away the fact that Harare City Council was the water authority and it was still the one making the chemical orders.