Govt must address power shortages now

EDITOR — An article in yesterday’s edition about the looming of basic commodities shortages due to the deepening power crisis made sad reading. It is true that the continuing and deepening power crisis is not just affecting individuals or residential areas but industries as well that have been forced to go for hours without power making production impossible.

According to the press reports, Zimbabwe is currently experiencing serious power cuts running into 16 hours a day, in a development which has incapacitated a number of manufacturers, who have also cut on their working time.

This is just too much even for a household, what more of a company that needs top produce basic but essential commodities.
The  Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) have every right to be concerned and foretell what is likely to happen in terms of basic commodities shortages looming.

In my opinion as long as there is no water and electricity which companies  obviously need for the production of various basic commodities, then definitely shortages are coming without any doubt.
CZR president Denford Mutashu is quoted as saying suppliers are now failing to provide adequate merchandise due to the ensuing decline in production.

“Right now if you look at a number of retailers they are actually running on generator and this is not sustainable … because it also pushes the cost of running a business.  “We are also afraid that if the power issue is not addressed it may even cause some product shortages because right now manufacturers, and a lot of our suppliers are also facing the same challenge and they are not doing adequate production,” he said.

It is true that even the companies that can run generators cannot sustain long hours as the fuel that is needed to run the generators is also expensive and in short supply. Surely what does the government expect businesses to do in this situation, something needs to be done urgently.

From the look of things even if the industries try and increase the pricing of these basic commodities still they will not be able to meet demand. What is likely to happen is that most of these commodities will start disappearing from the shelves and being sold in the black market at exorbitant prices. The manufacturers and industries are definitely in a in a catch-22 situation as alternative energy also means the rise in cost of doing business.

Even if the manufacturers decide to change their working hours to suit the availability of power this might mean more additional costs because they will be forced to provide transport for workers to work during these odd times and the fact that there is no definite load-shedding schedule presents many other complications.

Government needs to solve this problem as a matter of urgency otherwise many businesses will be forced to close.  The power deal between our country and Mozambique/South Africa needs to be concluded urgently and bring an end to the plethora of problems that are besieging the country. 

Energy minister Fortune Chasi was said to be in South Africa to finalise another power import deal with Eskom in a bid to reduce power shortages in the country. Reports that the country owes Eskom, South Africa millions of dollars and Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) about US$37 million is disheartening.

If these problems are not attended too things will grind to a halt and getting things to start running again it will be a mammoth task. Power crisis needs to be solved now. Nomatter.

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