BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday admitted that rolling power cuts had stumped his government and called on the private sector to invest in the energy sector to boost supplies.
Industry, business and domestic consumers have been hard hit by electricity outages that often last for as long as 36 hours, despite the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) announcing a load-shedding regime of up to 12 hours a day.
ZETDC said the country was experiencing a power shortfall due to electricity generation constraints at the nearly 40-year-old Hwange thermal power station.
Ongoing maintenance works at the Kariba hydropower plant have also reduced electricity generation.
Zimbabwe is now targeting imports from Zambia and Mozambique to ease the electricity crisis.
“Stability in the energy and power sector, including improved supply of electricity, remains one of my governments’ urgent priorities. Efforts are underway to harness our renewable energy potential towards improving our installed power generation capacity,” Mnangagwa said in his address at the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday.
The ZITF, which roared to life on Tuesday running under the theme Showcasing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities, ends today.
“The private sector is thus invited to invest in the renewable energy sector which presents vast business opportunities in our country and the economy,” he said.
“Meanwhile, I have tasked the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and Zesa Holdings to always act with speed with regards to repair and maintenance programmes to avoid undue costs of inconvenience to both business and consumers.”
The country requires approximately 2 000 megawatts (MW) daily to meet demand, but is generating a little just over 1 000MW.
Government targets to ease the electricity outages by 2023, if ongoing projects to increase power output are completed.
“In this new normal, the private sector remains a vital cog in the development of viable industrial and commercial enterprises as well as to promote the overall economic growth of our economy,” Mnangagwa added.
“I applaud the private sector for demonstrating resilience in the face of the pandemic and lockdown measures which my government has instituted from time-to-time.”
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