The government will have to invest $1,5 billion in building new units at Hwange Thermal Power Station if electricity shortages being experienced countrywide are to be fully addressed, a Cabinet minister has said.
Finance minister Tendai Biti told NewsDay last week the shortage of power, which continues to haunt the Zimbabwean economy, could only be dealt with by constructing new power plants.
Biti said the government would have to invest in building Hwange units 7 and 8 instead of trying to repair and rehabilitate units 1-6 which have since outlived their life span.
A further $400 million was needed for the expansion of Kariba South Power Station so that Zesa would be in a position to meet the needs of industry.
“We have put a lot of money into power generation over the last two years because these are hardware issues for our country.
“However, we cannot continue to rehabilitate Hwange Power Station because units 1 to 6 have outlived their life span.
“They have come to a point where an engine overhaul is no longer possible.
“We, therefore, need to invest $1,5 billion in plant 7 and 8 which are new units and we need $400 million for Kariba South,” Biti said.
The minister said Batoka Power Station, which is still at a planning stage, was the long-term solution for the power challenges facing the country, but admitted that government would not be able to fund the project on its own .
“You might be aware that South Africa got $4 billion from the World Bank for the expansion of its power, but that alone is still not enough, they are now issuing tenders to private players to construct a nuclear power plant.”
Commenting on the country’s poor road network, Biti said the government had already signed a $262 million deal for the modernisation of the Plumtree-Forbes Border Post Road, which he said government had no capacity to dualise.
“We have a road network of 88 133km in Zimbabwe and of that only 17% is tarred and even that which is tarred some of the roads are bad. We have no capacity to dualise the Plumtree–Forbes Border Post Road, but I am pleased to say in March this year we signed a $262 million deal to modernise the road,” Biti said.