The French and Dutch can’t work together

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Deltares and BRL Ingenierie fail to deliver technical proposal for GERD study to TNC

Ethiopia stated that the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) is still negotiating how the two selected European consultancy firms; the French-based BRL Ingenierie and the Dutch Deltares, are to conduct their duty.

One of the top negotiators on Ethiopia’s delegation told Capital that the two companies have submitted a letter to the three countries: Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, explaining that they have not been able to work together, and seeking solutions to how they will carry out their future responsibilities.
The two companies were expected to submit their technical proposals for the three countries before the 8th TNC meeting in Addis Ababa but did not appear with the expected document. The three countries has requested for the technical proposal to be delivered by September 5, before the 9th meeting expected to be held in Cairo this month. But the consultants failed to deliver it again.
A hydrology simulation model and socioeconomic impact assessment of Ethiopia’s iconic infrastructure project, GERD, was expected to be undertaken by the two companies.
Teshome Atnafe (Eng), Director of Irrigation and Drainage Directorate at Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and member of the TNC  told Capital that the companies have instead submitted a letter explaining their delay, while the committee has been left to resolve their conflict and address challenges.
At the end of last week, the Dutch firm, selected to undertake 30 percent of the study on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), stated that it has withdrawn from the project, according to Egyptian media. But Ethiopian negotiators said that they did not have any information about its withdrawal.
“We knew that the two companies have submitted a claim that explains why they could not come with a joint technical proposal, but we don’thave any information about the Dutch company’s decision,” Teshome added.
“The [Dutch] company has submitted its concerns about its future responsibilities and we (the three countries) are discussing the issue. At the same time, the French company has also submitted a letter stating similar concerns to the committee,” the negotiator said.
Sources said that the two companies were unable to reach an agreement on their responsibilities conducting the study. “In their letters, the companies raised issues that came up about their roles on the study,” he said.
Capital made reasonable attempts to contact Rinus Vis, Deltares’ Regional Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa to enquire about the company’s current status on the project, but no response was received from Deltares, before the paper went to print on Friday September 11.
The next TNC meeting is expected to be held in Cairo; however, the date is not specified. The multibillion dollar GERD project, under construction on the Tikur Abay River, will be the biggest hydroelectric project in African. The dam is designed to generate 6,000MW per annum for local consumption and for export.