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Batoka requires political will

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The long awaited Batoka hydro-electricity project between Zimbabwe and Zambia will only succeed if there is political will among the two countries, an official said.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chairperson Edward Chindori-Chininga said this on Monday when Energy and Power Development secretary Justin Mupamhanga appeared before Parliament to appraise it on the electricity situation in the country.

“The Batoka power project was a political matter that needed political will and to be spearheaded by heads of government of the two countries,” said Chindori-Chininga.

The Batoka Hydro Project is expected to generate 1 600 megawatts of power and, if implemented, should be completed by 2015.

Mupamhanga, however, told the committee negotiations for the Batoka project were at an advanced stage with both Zimbabwean and Zambian governments showing keen interest.

“We are looking at Batoka to be operational through Independent Power Producers (IPP). We are currently going through consultative stages,” said Mupamhanga.

The Batoka Hydro Project is a bilateral project between Zimbabwe and Zambia and its development is largely depended on resolution of Zimbabwe’s EX-CAPCO debt to Zambia.
Zimbabwe owes Zambia $72 million.

“Zimbabwe will start paying the debt in January, but the issue overhanging is that the debt may impinge on the investors who will want to come and invest,” said Mupamhanga

Turning to the Gokwe North projects, Mupamhanga said Sengwa Power Station Company was formed as an IPP to develop the thermal project.

Mupamhanga said the implementation of the two projects, Gokwe North and Batoka Project will done through an IPP model.

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