President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the power crisis in Zimbabwe is making the southern African country “unattractive to investments” hence the need to find solutions “urgently”.
His remarks come after the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages the river’s water on behalf of Zambia and Zimbabwe, advised the Zimbabwe Power Company to shut down its Kariba South Hydropower Plant owing to reduced water levels.
This limited electricity generation at the plant to 300 megawatts (MW).
Writing in his weekly column in The Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said he convened an urgent meeting for all Government departments to tackle the emerging threat. He said:
We have to engage sister countries in our SADC region with excess power to export to us. We urgently need to plug the current deficit through more imports.
Enough resources have to be mobilised for that to happen. They will be mobilised. The cost of importing power is relatively less than a slowdown in industry, whose capacity utilisation has been rising steadily.
Or stoppages altogether, not to mention delays in new investments caused by power shortages. Such an eventuality makes us unattractive to investments, foremost foreign direct investments which are so hard to attract, and can easily choose other country destinations. I am concerned about power-related stresses which industry is currently facing. Solutions will be found urgently.
President Mnangagwa indicated that Hwange Unit 7 will be commissioned in a few weeks, while work to refurbish six existing generators at the same power station and several other thermal stations across the country is currently underway.
He added that the Government will ensure enough coal deliveries are made to all thermal power stations, as well as relook into the licensing regime to encourage independent power producers (IPPs) and new players in the renewable sector.
Zimbabwe generates a total of 1 124MW against a peak demand of 2 200 MW.