Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Industry wants Zesa board fired

Industry wants Zesa board fired

By Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer
Sunday, 18 March 2012 12:20

HARARE – State-owned power utility Zesa Holdings should dissolve its board 
of directors for failing to collect $500 million tariff arrears from 
consumers, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Joseph Kanyekanye 
said yesterday.

He told the Daily News on Sunday the directors’ failure to cause management 
to perform one of the company’s key mandate was a sign of incompetence, 
which threatened industry’s performance as a result of erratic power supply.

“The problem with Zesa Holdings is that some people were not paying their 
bills deliberately while some cannot afford the money, but we should never 
have a situation where we have people not paying for their consumption 
because we won’t go forward,” he said.

“Addressing debt collection is what needs to be done now so government 
should look at a situation where it dissolves the whole board and appoint 
people who have a no-nonsense approach because a company can’t have its 
debtors’ book continuing to balloon in the face of such liquidity 
challenges,” added Kanyekanye, who is also Allied Timbers chief executive.

In its defence, the state-owned power utility last month said it had failed 
to collect overdue bills because the charges were out of the reach of 
consumers because of liquidity challenges and a general poor remuneration 
across the job market.

While creating a pool of prepaying customers is a solution, Kanyekanye said, 
the government should allow private players to import their electricity 
directly from suppliers to diffuse the potential threat caused by the 
company’s debts to regional power producers.

“I have also said Zesa Holdings should be abolished because of its cost 
structure which goes up to $40 million a year. It’s an albatross to the 
consumer and we should do away with it and maintain productive units only.”

Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube also said the problems at Zesa 
Holdings were a result of mismanagement.

“The problems lies with the leadership of Zesa Holdings, how does one 
accumulate a $50 000 bill and they are not switched off,” he said.

“If people don’t pay then they should be switched off before it gets to that 
amount,” added the minister.

“Sadly, industry is the worst casualty because load-shedding can be managed 
at domestic level through use of gas, solar and other energy alternatives, 
but for an industry to use diesel powered generators it will cost them a lot 
and make their business uncompetitive.”

President Robert Mugabe and his allies in both government and Zanu PF are 
top the list of defaulters.

Mugabe’s bill, which amounted to $350 000 as at December 31 last year, was 
less than that of Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe and Central Intelligence 
Organistion boss Happyton Bonyongwe who owe the power company $367 606,07 
and $350 989,48 respectively.


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