Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
Government has concluded negotiations with South Africa’s power utility, Eskom that will see the country receiving 400 MW of electricity while paying US$890 000 weekly to service the country’s legacy debt.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at a media briefing on the 28th Cabinet Decision Making Matrix yesterday.
“Cabinet was informed by the Minister of Energy and Power Development that an arrangement to unlock the supply of 400 MW has been concluded with Eskom,” she said.
“In terms of this arrangement, Government through Treasury, has commenced the payment of an amount of US$890 000 per week towards the settlement of its debt to Eskom. Furthermore, similar discussions will soon commence with Hydro Cahorra Bassa of Mozambique.”
Zimbabwe owes Eskom and HCB about US$74 million in legacy debts with each utility owed approximately half of the amount.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet had also approved the National Renewable Energy Policy that was presented by Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.
“Cabinet considered and approved the National Renewable Energy Policy which was presented by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Industrialisation and Export Development. The renewable energy sector in Zimbabwe comprises solar, hydro, wind, geothermal and biomass energy sources,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
She said the Policy seeks to attain the following: “to establish market-oriented measures and regulatory instruments for the development of the renewable energy sector in Zimbabwe; to address the barriers to the uptake of renewable energy in the country; to achieve an installed renewable energy capacity consistent with the country’s projected energy requirements under Vision 2030; to promote investment in the renewable energy sector; to provide the necessary guidelines, incentives, standards, procurement and financing mechanisms for promoting the development of off-grid projects, which have the potential to increase electricity access in rural areas and to promote the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment in the country as well as local skills development in that regard.”
Minister Mutsvangwa added that the Policy was expected to go a long way in resolving current energy problems besetting the country and negative effects on the economy.
Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi also said they were reviewing the licences issued to 47 independent power producers most of whom have not done any work towards power generation.
“Government has pronounced itself around speculative holding of licences. We are reviewing each and every licence through the regulator and I understand they have given them time to explain why they are holding on to the licences,” Minister Chasi said.
He added that Kariba Dam was now 23 percent full and its generation capacity in the future was bleak amid indications in some quarters that the country could be affected by another drought.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet was also briefed that the fuel situation was expected to improve soon.
“Regarding fuel supply, Cabinet was informed that the situation had slightly improved during the week under review.
“The Minister of Energy and Power Development also advised Cabinet that the fuel supply situation was expected to improve even further within the next few days, on the back of the funding arrangements currently under active consideration,” she said.