Zim disburses $50m for power projects

HARARE - Zimbabwe has disbursed close to $50 million towards energy sector projects during the first half of the year as the country moves to alleviate power shortages.

In his mid-term fiscal review Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said of this amount local resources contributed $23 million while loan financing was $22 million and development partners contributed $4,9 million.

Power sector projects during the first half of the year were Kariba South Extension, Kariba Dam Rehabilitation, the Rural Electrification Programme and Transmission and Distribution Projects.

According to Chinamasa, the Kariba South Hydro Power Station extension project is on course for completion in 2018.

“As at 30 June 2015, an amount of $22 million had been disbursed, bringing the total disbursements to date to $101,8 million.

“The Zimbabwe Power Company has also contributed $14,4 million this year towards the project, bringing the total contribution by the parastatal to $50,9 million,” Chinamasa said.

The project is expected to be completed by March 2018 and is expected to add an additional 300 Megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

He also said the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam had already begun, after the signing of the Kariba Rehabilitation Grant Agreement in February 2015 on the Kariba Dam Wall.

The rehabilitation of the dam is under the backing of a Multinational Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project funded by the African Development (AfDB) ($75 million), World Bank ($75 million), European Development Fund ($100 million) and Sweden ($25 million) to the tune of $295 million through a combination of grants and loans to the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Under the Rural Electrification Programme, the Rural Electrification Agency disbursed $6,9 million for the rural electrification programme during the period under review.

“At least 183 establishments were electrified, comprising 112 primary and secondary schools, 23 rural health centres, Government Extension Services, chiefs’ homesteads, business centres, farms and villages. Work is still in progress at 199 establishments,” the minister said.

In transmission and distribution, a total of $32,7 million has been disbursed on the first phase, with $4,9 million of this spent on project implementation during January to June 2015.

“Utilisation of the entire $32,7 million was on projects including the rehabilitation of Hwange Ash Plant which will result in improved generation efficiency of the power plant, ultimately set to benefit 1 345 967 households country-wide, through consistent and reliable power supply,” he said.

According to Chinamasa, the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company also contributed $1,7 million towards the rehabilitation of the transmission and distribution network.

Zimbabwe produces 1 200 MW of power against peak demand of 2 200 MW, which means industry and households have to endure regular power cuts.

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