via $1,1bn cash roll-out for Hwange deal | The Herald November 3, 2015
Chinese financial institutions will release $1,1 billion early next month for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station, the first tranche from mega deals signed between President Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping during his state visit to China in August last year. The expansion of the power station being carried out by Chinese firm Sinohydro will start in earnest once the funds are released.
When completed, the $1,1 billion project will add 600 megawatts to the national grid.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Tsitsi Muzenda told legislators attending a pre-budget seminar here that the power deficit affecting the country would be a thing of the past in the near future. “We have been working on Hwange 7 and 8 and, it will add 600 megawatts into the national grid,” said Minister Chinamasa.
“We are looking at $1,1 billion to do it and we should get the money for that in early December from Chinese financial institutions. Financial closure will be done in December.” Minister Chinamasa said there were a number of private power producers at different stages of implementing their projects to increase power generation.
Deputy Minister Muzenda said Government was also implementing a number of projects to address power problems bedevilling the country. “To date, as of 30 September 2015, 33 percent of work (at Kariba South) has been completed,” she said. “Pre-work at Hwange 7 and 8 has been done. I am also pleased to say that the financial closure of this project is going to be signed by December. We have also to date awarded 300MW solar plants to three companies.”
The envisaged release of the $1,1 billion for Hwange Thermal Power Station will be a major milestone in the implementation of the mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and China. More funds are expected in the near future for deals signed between the two countries, which are meant for various sectors, including transport, energy and mining. A high-powered Chinese delegation was in Zimbabwe a few weeks ago to put final touches on some of the deals, which are expected to help with the turnaround of the economy.
On electricity shortages, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told the legislators that Government was in discussion with South Africa on the importation of about 300MW that will exclusively be for the mining industry. Minister Chidhakwa said the power shortages being experienced have seriously hampered mining operations, affecting efforts to turnaround the economy.
“We recognise that if we do not sort out power and lose eight hours of power in the mines everyday, all the companies will go on care and maintenance,” said Minister Chidhakwa. “We cannot afford to do that. We have approached the South Africans. We have opened discussions and yesterday, I was briefed that we are very close to arriving at an agreement for an approximatly 300 megawatts, which we will send to the mines.”
Minister Chidhakwa said mines will pay eight cents per kWh for the electricity from South Africa, compared to 13 cents per kWh which they are paying to Zesa Holdings. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Gutu Central MP and Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke said there was need to address the power situation if the economy was to grow.
Meanwhile, the committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) did not present its report. Cde Wadyajena told the delegates that the new Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao barred his ministry and youth-affiliated organisations from presenting their budgetary expectations for 2016.
He told participants at the seminar that Minister Zhuwao sent a director in his ministry with the message, who told him that his minister was of the view that he was working against President Mugabe. This prompted National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda to say that he would take up the matter when they returned to Harare.
The committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs chaired by MDC-T MP for Harare West, Ms Jessie Majome complained that efforts to get input from the Judicial Services Commission had been futile in the past two years. Ms Majome said the JSC did not respond to correspondence sent to them and implored Adv Mudenda to intervene.