The bidder chosen for the Rs3.4 billion Bagatelle Dam project “has been appointed by the government of the Republic of China”, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities Dr Rashid Beebeejaun told a press conference yesterday afternoon.
Held only hours after the National Assembly session, Dr Beebeejaun said he wanted to bring some clarifications to the Private Notice Question (PNQ) addressed to him earlier by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Paul Bérenger.
He said that the financing of the project is through a concessional loan of Yuan800 million (Rs3.4 billion) from the Chinese government.
The loan has an interest rate of only 2% annually (compare to an average 4%), with a five-year moratorium period over a repayment period of 15 years.
With these conditions in place, the government has saved Rs426 million.
He referred to a letter dated September 28 last year sent by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius.
Good track record
The letter pointed out that the China International Contractors Association, with the authority of the government in Beijing, had designated China International Water & Electric Corp. to enter bid negotiations with the Mauritian side.
“The Mauritian side could precede bid negotiation for the project (Bagatelle) on the basis of the aforesaid letter,” the letter stated.
Dr Beebeejaun said he has no doubt about the competence of the China International Water & Electric Corporation “as this company has a good track record and has implemented many projects in Asia, China and Africa”.
With regard to technical services, the deputy prime minister said that the selected firm Coyne and Bellier Bureau d’Ingenieurs Conseil in association with Servansingh Jadav and Partners “has a solid reputation”.
The France-based firm is to provide consultancy engineering services for detailed design and construction supervision.
“At the end of 2010, Coyne and Bellier have estimated the cost of the project at Rs3.1 billion but the consultants have not yet completed their work. It will certainly be less than Rs3.4 billion and will be closer to Rs3.1 billion. We trust the consultants,” Dr Beebeejaun said.
“There is no doubt about the consultancy firm and the Chinese construction firm. We assure the public that we are monitoring the situation closely so that the country’s interest is safeguarded,” said Dr Beebeejaun.
By Clifford Vellien