Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
Zesa Holdings is owed $360 million by local authorities, forcing Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi to intervene.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Minister Chasi said there was need for debtors to honour their obligation for zesa to realise its potential.
“The local authorities owe the power utility $360 million,” he said. “We have engaged their parent Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to work on how we can deal with the issue of debts, which is crippling the power utility.”
The non-paying local authorities include Harare, which owes zesa $145 million, Bulawayo owes $112 million, while Gweru City Council has a $28 million debt.
Kwekwe owes $18 million, while Kadoma owes $10 million, with Victoria Falls owing $5 million, Kariba $4 million, Marondera $3 million, Chegutu $3 million and Mutare $2 million.
Minister Chasi said they engaged the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to address the concerns of the local authorities.
“We have also engaged the ministry to see how we can work with the local authorities on power generation to ease power outages in the country,” he said.
“We recognise that local authorities have a lot of weight behind them, so we believe there is need to work together and bring investors willing to invest in renewable energy. We want investors willing to invest in waste management so that local authorities can be liberated.”
With regards to institutions with legal issues with zesa, Minister Chasi said there was need to work in harmony with a view to ensure sanity in the energy sector.
He encouraged all debtors to engage the power utility and make payment plans to clear their debts.
“Those owing zesa are advised to pay up or arrange credible payment structures with them without delay,” said Minister Chasi.
zesa is owed in access of $1 billion by both private and public entities in mining, manufacturing, agriculture and domestic users and local authorities.
Minister Chasi said the country had vast resources in the form of agricultural and municipal waste.
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development, through Rural Electrification Fund, is installing domestic and institutional biogas digesters around the country.
Biogas can be used for cooking, heating, lighting and electricity generation.
Minister Chasi said a number of companies expressed interest in making use of waste dumping sites such as Pomona to generate electricity.