BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA/OBERT SIAMILANDU
ENERGY minister Zhemu Soda yesterday handed over the chairmanship of Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Council of Ministers (COM) to his Zambian counterpart, Mathew Nkhuwa.
The chairmanship of the project is held on rotational basis annually.
Soda handed over the chairmanship during the 38th COM meeting held virtually to apprise each other on the development of the 2 400 megawatt Batoka Gorge Hydro-electric Scheme (BGHES) and the ongoing implementation of the $4,5 billion Kariba Dam rehabilitation project.
The meeting also sought to approve the 2021 budgets on the projects.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Attorney-General Prince Machaya represented Zimbabwe, while Zambia was represented by Bwalya Ng’andu, the Finance minister and Attorney-General Likando Kalaluka.
Also in attendance were members of the ZRA board as well as senior officials and management representation in the two countries.
Apart from the development of additional water storage and power generation, the project is set to generate 10 000 direct and indirect jobs as well as an annual revenue of $750 million.
Speaking during the meeting, Soda said he was delighted to embrace the new technology.
“I wish to re-echo the fact that at the end of this meeting, and as per agreed governance best practice of annually rotating the chairmanship of the authority’s governance structures, I shall be handing over the chairmanship to my counterpart, the Minister of Energy for the Republic of Zambia, Hon Mathew Nkhuwa, for him to take the lead in the activities of COM and, indeed, the activities of the authority during the year 2021, the implementation of various projects aimed at enhancing the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities displaced during the construction of Kariba,” Soda said.
“The meeting will also consider and approve the authority’s 2021 budget, among other agenda items.”
He added: “In addition to ensuring the continued existence and safe operation of Kariba Dam, you will agree with me that of paramount interest to the two contracting Sstates is it is encouraging to learn that most of the preparatory works for the implementation of the scheme have been completed.
“This includes the updating of the 1993 engineering feasibility studies and the undertaking of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies which have culminated in the production of a draft ESIA report.”