ZIMBABWE requires public private partnerships (PPPs) to address the country’s power infrastructure supply needs estimated at $8 billion, Energy deputy minister Magma Mudyiwa has said.
This comes as infrastructure development has been identified as a key driver of progress across the African continent and a critical enabler for productivity and sustainable economic growth. It contributes significantly to human development, poverty reduction, and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Mudyiwa told an Infrastructure Summit that government was crafting a new policy for independent power producers (IPPs) to tighten screws and force licence holders to implement projects.
“I am very conscious that my ministry’s mandate is to set this energy base for the country.
However with the cost of addressing the power infrastructure supply needs of Zimbabwe being estimated at $8 billion, the government cannot foot this bill alone,” she said. “Therefore a clarion call for private sector participation is fundamental. We are open to all models of funding as shall be deliberated later, such as public private partnerships and the Build Operate and Transfer model,” she added.
Mudyiwa further indicated that these models have proved to be more efficient and transparent when it comes to production.
“However, if not properly managed they may lead to disastrous consequences, hence proper policies need to be put in place,” she said.
African Development Bank’s ZimFund manager, Emmanuel Nzabanita said that efficiency will ensure that the private sector comes on board. “The energy sector in Zimbabwe lacks finance and proper policies for it to grow. What is simply lacking in the country is adequate capital and in my opinion, this simply requires authorities to put in place the proper policy framework.”
“Institutions like the Zesa Holdings need to be efficiently managed because if by chance, there are corruption issues and losses being incurred, then the private sector will be discouraged from coming on board,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is seeking $18 million for the refurbishment of the Harare Thermal Power Station.
Although the Zesa Holdings unit secured a $176 million loan from the Africa Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) for various projects, it allocated $52 million to Harare Power Station, resulting in an $18 million shortfall for the re-powering scheme.
Zimbabwe and Zambia have moved closer towards construction of the Batoka Gorge hydro power station after shortlisting American, European and Chinese companies to build the 2400MW plant.
The Chinese government has already bankrolled power expansion projects in Zimbabwe after it completed the 300 megawatts (MW) Kariba South Hydro Power expansion project in March last year at a total cost of $533 million.