Exporters to pay for electricity in foreign currency

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

While Zesa must bill local customers in local currency for the next six months, it can bill exporters in US dollars or other foreign currency following the gazetting of Statutory Instrument 93 of 2023 this week and can even opt to set up a special agreement to bill any non-exporter who requests permission to pay in foreign currency.

The Statutory Instrument, the Exchange Control (Payment for Electricity and Related Services in Foreign Currency by Exporters and Partial Exporters) (Amendment) Order, 2023 (No. 2), was gazetted by the RBZ with the approval of Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.

“Every exporter shall pay and be billed by Zesa in United States dollars or the equivalent in Euro or any other currency denominated under the exchange control order at the international cross rate prevailing on the date of payment for the supply of electricity by Zesa to exporters.

“Any partial exporter or any other customer shall be billed in Zimbabwe dollars unless such partial exporter or customer at their instance apply to enter into a foreign currency billing agreement with ZESA,” reads SI93.

Zesa, the RBZ and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority shall between them frame a standard foreign currency billing agreement that may be entered into by Zesa and any partial exporter or any other customer wishing to pay for electricity consumed by the partial exporter or customer in United States dollars, Euros or any other currency.

The agreement, among other provisions, must, provide for the duration and renewal of the foreign currency billing agreement, what happens on the failure of the partial exporter or customer concerned to pay in the agreed foreign currency, and the minimum notice period to be given by a partial exporter or  customer wishing to switch from a foreign currency billing agreement to an ordinary contract of supply.

The agreement may also specify qualifying criteria of general applicability to all partial exporters and other customers on the basis of which Zesa may enter into, refuse to enter into or terminate a current foreign currency billing agreement.

The SI also said Zesa shall bill customers who are not exporters in Zimbabwe dollars and will be in force for the next six months.

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