$300m shot in arm for power plants

Felex Share Senior Reporter
India has extended a $333 million line of credit to Zimbabwe for the upgrade of Hwange Thermal Power Station and rehabilitation of Bulawayo Thermal Power Plant.

Of this, $310 million will go towards the Hwange rehabilitation programme while $23 million will be used on the Bulawayo project.

This was announced in a joint statement released at the end of Indian Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s three-day working visit to Zimbabwe yesterday.

VP Naidu also announced that the Asian country would give Zimbabwe a $19,5 million soft loan for the Deka Water Pipeline project in Hwange.

“During the visit, Vice President Naidu announced a $310 million line of credit for upgradation of Hwange Thermal Power Station, an additional $23 million line of credit for rehabilitation of Bulawayo Thermal Power Station and an additional $19,5 million line of credit for Deka Pumping and River Water Intake System,” read the statement.

“He also announced a grant for construction of Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre, $2,93 million grant for upgradation of Indo-Zim Technology Centre and gifting of 10 ambulances to Zimbabwe, life- saving drugs and deputation of in five specialised areas. This gesture was deeply appreciated by the Zimbabwe side.”

The Hwange Power Station will be upgraded to extend its lifespan by 15-20 years.

The power plant has design capacity of 4×120 megawatts and having been commissioned between 1983 and 1985, its lifespan expired in 2016.

High costs are now being incurred by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to maintain the power station.

During his visit VP Naidu met President Mnangagwa on Saturday before he oversaw together with Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, the signing of six agreements.

The agreements in health, media, sports, mining and ICTs are expected to heighten bilateral cooperation

between the two countries.

Zimbabwe and India also called on the private sectors to explore and take advantage of the pro-business climate existing in the two countries.

“They identified areas to enhance cooperation, including mining, agriculture, SMEs, ICT, health and diamond trading,” reads the statement.

“They particularly welcomed greater cooperation in the areas of health and traditional medicine. On the multilateral front, the subjects of the United Nations Security Council expansion and reform, promotion of world peace, climate change, sustainable development, India-Africa engagement and re-admission of Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth were discussed. The leaders emphasised on the need for urgent reforms of the UN Security Council, including its expansion in both the categories of the membership to make it more representative, accountable, effective and responsive to the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, the two sides reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. Both sides expressed their commitment to work together at the UN and other multilateral fora for fighting the menace of terrorism.”

Earlier on yesterday, VP Naidu laid a foundation stone of the new chancery premises of the Embassy of India to be built soon.

The project will see the construction of a chancery, a multi-purpose hall, a yoga centre and eight staff residences.

VP Naidu, who was  accompanied by nseveral MPs and senior government officials, left the country yesterday and was seen off at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by VP Mohadi.