By Zvamaida Murwira
Electricity supplies are expected to improve significantly following a payment plan that was agreed on by Zimbabwe and South African power utility, Eskom, coupled with a US$2 million import facility through a local financial institution.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa while addressing journalists on the 27th Cabinet Decision Matrix held in Harare yesterday.
She said Cabinet had agreed on a cocktail of measures that will see power supply improving.
“Modalities to operationalise the above resolutions are being worked out. Furthermore, ZESA is now accessing 300 MW during off-peak hours.
“This additional power is availed through the Southern African Power Pool Day Ahead Market under a US$2 million facility which was mobilised by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) from its own resources.
“This additional power has reduced the duration of load shedding in most areas,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said negotiations between ZETDC and Eskom were still underway on the 400MW and a more definitive position will be made public once remaining loose ends were concluded.
Acting Minister of Energy and Power Development Dr Sekai Nzenza weighed in saying a payment plan had since been agreed between Zimbabwe and Eskom.
“We can report that ZETDC has engaged a local bank to the tune of a $15 million guarantee to unlock supply of 400MW from Eskom.
“At the same time, ZETDC, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Eskom have also agreed on a payment plan so that these initiatives that have been put into place will enable us to have more power,” said Dr Nzenza, who is also Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
Earlier on, Minister Mutsvangwa had said following the decision by Cabinet to allow exporting mining companies to pay their electricity bills in foreign currency, the business community had embraced the adoption of renewable energy, including participation in net metering and smart metering technologies.
She said it was also agreed to escalate energy efficiency, taking note of the SADC Industrial Energy Efficiency Initiative; and implementation of the cost-reflective tariffs proposal for their members through a ring-fenced power arrangement.
She said Cabinet received the Food Deficit Mitigation Programme report from Dr Nzenza where it emerged that a total of 189 042.52 tonnes of grain had been distributed to vulnerable households in both the country’s rural and urban provinces.
In Harare, the areas covered were Zengeza, Seke, Budiriro, Glen View, Kuwadzana, Dzivaresekwa, Kambuzuma, Rugare and Glen Norah. In Bulawayo, the areas covered were Njube, Magwegwe, Nketa, Tshabalala, Nkulumane and Silwane.
Minister Mutsvangwa said following President Mnangagwa’s interaction with Zimbabweans in Namibia, Cabinet resolved that invitations for appointments in commissions, boards of public enterprises and Government ministries and agencies be also extended to nationals in the diaspora.
“Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage will actively engage its counterparts in the region in order to speedily resolve issues affecting Zimbabweans in those countries,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.