Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government is keen to see an assured power supply for businesses whose produce is meant for the export market and will continue seeking a lasting solution that will guarantee supply for the sector, Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi has said.
Minister Chasi said this after touring Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve, Mashonaland Central, where work is underway to resuscitate production following the injection of new capital last year after production had been halted more than 18 years ago.
The resuscitation of the mine is in line with President Mnangagwa’s quest to accelerate economic revival on the back of leveraging on natural resources abound in the country.
In an interview after the tour, Minister Chasi said one of his ministry’s uppermost priorities is to make sure that businesses that are in the export sector are not affected by the power cuts that have saddled the economy.
“I have been told that they (Eureka) are getting 15 hours (per day) of power supply . . . I also understand that they have been in discussion with Zesa and I am going to prevail on Zesa to ensure that they get sufficient power,” said Minister Chasi.
“I have also been informed that they have had discussions with Zesa around ring-fencing.
“This is a financial model that we have used (previously) as you know our approach is to say the power that we have should first and foremost go towards the productive sector and then everyone else can come into place as we continue with our efforts to generate, working on our thermals . . . so we need to help forex earners so that they earn the forex which then helps Zesa to procure more power,” he said.
The unreliability of power due to decreased generation owing to low levels of water at the Kariba dam and the inadequate foreign currency to import sufficient power has been cited as one of the major hindrances to production.
In its industry survey for the year, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has this year inserted a specific clause that seeks to gauge the impact of power cuts to general capacity utilisation.
In the case of the mining sector, Government has set a 2023 milestone of growing the industry into a US$12 billion export earning sector as a key enabler to Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should be an upper middle income earning country.
For this to be achieved, gold in particular is expected to contribute 100 tonnes annually up from 33,2 tonnes achieved last year.