Power-cuts: Mnangagwa’s national economic development policy plan up in smoke

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PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that the realisation of the National Development Strategy (NDS1) was now in flames due to the continued power crisis that has hit the country and has proposed US$ tariffs to ease the shortage.

Zimbabwe is faced with a crippling power crisis that has affected business and ordinary consumers.

The Parliamentary portfolio committee on Energy and Power Development chaired by Joel Gabuza said it was concerned with the power crisis and urged the Zimbabwe Power  Company to take immediate action since the energy sector is a key enabler for the success of the economic blueprint.

“Failure to implement the infrastructure and development projects such as the rural electrification projects, Hwange Units 7 and 8 expansion projects will inevitably impact on the success of the NDS1 and regress the achievements that have been realised to date,” Gabuza said.

He said the committee was concerned with the deteriorating electricity supply in the country following reports of low water levels at Kariba Dam amid fears the hydro power plant could be forced to shut down.

“In light of the challenges faced at Kariba Power Station, the Committee recommends that ZPC comes up with ways of increasing electricity generation from other existing power plants and scale up investment in renewable energy sources especially at government institutions.”

“Alternatively, the Committee recommends that ZESA should consider securing additional power imports and for electricity imported, the tariffs must be cost reflective.

“If the government wants to subsidise, there should be budgetary support to that effect.”

The committee also said there was a need to have other consumers pay in foreign currency if the power utility is to get on top of the situation.

“The Committee notes with concern that while most customers of electricity pay in the local currency, critical inputs such as coal and diesel are paid for in foreign currency.

“In light of this, the Committee appreciates that although it is not feasible to charge electricity exclusively in foreign currency, ZESA should devise ways of increasing the share of customers paying in US$.

“This can be done through offering incentives to customers paying in US dollars,” Gabuza said.

“Consultations with MOEPD and ZESA revealed that current electricity tariffs for both USD and Zimbabwe dollar customers are below the cost recovery tariff levels.

“To address this, the 2023 budget should have prioritised the formulation of an electricity pricing policy.”

“In addition, the Committee recommends that to mitigate the country’s dependency on imports, the government must support the IPPs by giving them import parity tariffs in US$.” – Business Times