Treasury challenged to release funds on time

Source: Treasury challenged to release funds on time – NewsDay Zimbabwe


PARLIAMENTARY Portfolio Committee on Energy chairperson Joel Gabbuza has urged Treasury to release funds on time to ensure the country has adequate strategic fuel stocks.

His statement come at a time when the country is experiencing petrol shortages

Gabbuza also told the National Assembly last Thursday during budget debate that in the past years, Treasury has been failing to disburse enough funds to the Energy ministry to meet its needs.

“For example, in the 2021 national the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was allocated $137 million, but as at September 30, Treasury had not released anything to support the parastatal’s projects.

“It is, therefore, recommended that in 2022, Treasury should meet its side of the bargain by timeously releasing allocated funds to the Energy ministry. The committee reiterates the importance of providing funding for strategic fuel stocks, having considered Zimbabwe’s situation in terms of risk exposure and the associated effects resulting from any disruptions in fuel supplies,” Gabbuza said.

“Government should come up with a strategic stocks policy that endeavours to ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products in the country through the provision of adequate strategic stocks and infrastructure such as storage facilities.”

He said in order to ensure sustainable and efficient energy supplies in the country, government should come up with a tariff structure that took into account the depressed income levels of people in the country, and promoted domestic production through provision of low-cost electricity that would make the country’s energy products competitive on regional and international markets.

“In 2022, we need a stop-gap measure which can be a once-off grant to Zesa (Holdings) to avoid tariff increases. In 2023, the cost recovery tariff structure can then be implemented when the economy has recovered from economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 induced shutdowns,” he said.

Gabbuza also decried the deteriorating electricity distribution infrastructure around the country saying in some areas, powerlines have fallen, while in others, transformers have not been replaced.

“Treasury must make provision through the budget of a grant that will assist Zesa to repair and acquire transformers to improve electricity distribution in the country,” he said, adding that this had been necessitated by the fact that the existing mechanisms and those being proposed were not enough to cover the damage.

“The ministry has the mandate to promote the use of renewable energy sources around the country and, therefore, there is need for the budget to support the mobility of (Zesa) officers so that they are able to access all the country’s provinces and promote the use of renewable energy.”