Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is carrying out a survey on energy to establish the impact of the prevailing power shortages on company performance.
The business lobby group has since sent questionnaires to the private sector across the country so as to gather the feedback. ZNCC Matabeleland regional manager, Mr Mduduzi Ncube, said they were expecting the private sector to offer solutions to the power crisis with recommendations set to be submitted to Government.
“We are saying we want to hear from the private sector on the challenges they are having on energy and preferably if they can proffer any solution,” he said in an interview.
“We will be having an end of year business review in Harare so we want the input from the private sector to be then discussed in our business review such that at least we can get propositions from the business sector on what they are clamouring for in 2020.”
Mr Ncube said their recommendations will be submitted to Government through the relevant ministry to find a lasting solution to the power constraints facing the country. Last month, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) approved an electricity tariff increase of ZWL162,16c per kilowatt hour following an application by Zesa to adjust the charge to promote viability and better service delivery. Zesa Holdings, through its subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), applied to increase the power tariffs from 38,61c/kWh saying that the previous rate had been eroded by inflation. Zesa said viability and service delivery before the power tariff increase had been severely compromised.
The energy regulator approved the new power tariff increase informed by an analysis of the prevailing situation where Zesa had embarked on 18 hours of load shedding on most consumers as well as the high cost of alternative energy supplies.
Mr Ncube said ZNCC has noted that the existing power shortage continues to pose challenges towards productivity and plant efficiency.
“We have received reports that some business machinery hasn’t performed very well because of the prevailing power outages.
“Also, the power shortage has a bearing on the productivity costs and costs have escalated and most of the responses that we have gathered, people have expressed concern that they end up resorting to other sources of energy like generators,” he said.
“However, each and every week, the price of fuel has been escalating and this literary means our products will end up becoming uncompetitive within the region.”
Players in the mining sector, Zesa and Government are expected to meet this week over talks on the need to facilitate improved power supplies to the mining industry.
The latest report on the state of the mining industry has already shown that production in the sector was being slowed down by power outages. — @okazunga