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Michael Tome and Fradreck Gorwe
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) is keen to assist ZESA to import electricity from the region to address the crippling power outages affecting production capacity and revenue generation.
Critically, the depressed production in the manufacturing sector has also impacted on exports, a move that directly impacts on foreign currency generation.
Zimbabwe is battling acute power shortages following a decline in water levels at Lake Kariba, coupled with obsolete infrastructure at thermal power plants.
CZI president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo told The Herald in emailed responses that industrialists are now ready to engage ZESA to find a lasting solution, but did not give finer details.
“The impact of power outages on business has been heavy. We have indicated to ZESA (the) willingness by industrial exporters to contribute towards power imports.
“Industry will also support efforts by ZESA to improve their foreign currency inflows,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
Government has always challenged ZESA customers to pay up their debts to allow the power utility to honour its obligations of up to US$74 million owed to Eskom of South Africa and Hidroelectrica de Cahora (HCB) of Mozambique.
ZESA is owed over $1 billion, the bulk of which was previously in US dollars.
Industrialists owe ZESA up to $350 million while domestic consumers, farmers and Government departments, owe the balance.
If miners, for instance, who owe about $200 million, were to pay, the money would go a long way in ensuring that the country gets decent power imports to augment local generation.
Zimbabwe is currently generating an average of 800MW, against a national demand of 1 600MW.