Eskom in bid to manage Electrogaz
KIGALI SA's electricity parastatal, Eskom, is one of six foreign firms that have prequalified to bid for management of the Rwandan utility, Electrogaz.
The electric power, gas and water utility is one of two major public companies the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame intends to privatise between now and 2005.
Robert Bayigamba, executive secretary of the Rwandan Privatisation Secretariat, says requests for proposals had already been sent out and a bidders' conference held. "All that remains is picking a winner," he said. Eskom is competing with Canada's Manitoba Hydro, SAUR of France, India's Tata, and German and Belgian consortiums.
The country's Finance Minister Donald Kaberuka said this week the option of an interim management contract had been chosen over outright divestiture because it would help add value to Elctrogaz. More capital will be injected into the utility over the next four years before options are reviewed.
Bayigamba said only 30% of the privatisation programme had been covered during the past three years and there were still opportunities in telecoms where the SA-Rwanda partnership of MTN Rwandacell and the state-run Rwandatel were the only operators.
MTN, SA's multinational, which also won a $285m GSM licence in Nigeria, is running Rwanda's mobile network.
Rwandatel, which runs the country's fixed telephony, is also up for privatisation this year and the utility has been instructed to give up its stake in MTN to provide for a level playing field.
News that Eskom has been shortlisted for the contract comes in the wake of a growing thaw in relations between the two countries. A binational commission is due to hold its meeting next month.
Business Day: 12 April 2001