Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZESA to increase tariffs by nearly 50%

ZESA to increase tariffs by nearly 50%

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 November, 2011

A shocking 47 percent increase in electricity charges is being planned by 
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), after already raising 
tariffs by 31 percent earlier this year. The troubled parastatal said they 
needed an estimated $2.5 billion for construction and rehabilitation of the 
Kariba and Hwange power stations, due to years of neglect.

ZESA chief executive Josh Chifamba reportedly said that production costs 
were much higher than the current electricity tariffs. And according to The 
Daily News newspaper, repairs and expansion of the two stations would take 
place over a five-year period, and increase power output to 2 220 megawatts, 
from the current 1320 megawatts, leaving a shortfall of 900 megawatts.

The local Zim press reported the news Wednesday morning, just as power 
outages hit the capital and most parts of the country, due to a “severe 
shock” that is believed to have originated in Mozambique.

Residents and businesses have warned that the new tariffs would be too high 
for most ordinary Zimbabweans, who are already struggling to pay for 
electricity at the current rates. Regular, disruptive power cuts are badly 
affecting industry and a chaotic billing system has also made the situation 

Harare based journalist Jan Raath blamed ZANU PF for the current mess that 
ZESA is in. He explained that for the last 20 years ZESA has been forced to 
charge “artificially suppressed” prices for power, depriving the power 
company of much needed extra revenue for repairs, maintenance, expansion and 
equipment upgrades.

Explaining why the party would force the power company to charge 
unreasonable prices, Raath said: “ZANU PF is a people’s party and they 
believe if you give people what they want they think people will keep 
supporting them, and this is tragically short-sighted.”

Raath said what ZESA needs are loans from the IMF and World Bank to finance 
the critical repairs and upgrades, but Zimbabwe is “hugely” in debt and does 
not qualify for any loans until the current balances are settled.

Private investment from foreign companies is also an option Raath said, but 
ZANU PF’s so-called “indigenous empowerment” policy, which requires foreign 
owned companies to give up a majority of their shares to locals, has scared 
off potential investors. “They completely shot themselves in the foot,” 
Raath added.

Like all parastatals in Zimbabwe, ZESA has been plagued by corruption and 
mismanagement for years. The unity government has focused mostly on 
resolving the political crisis gripping the country, while the country’s 
economy and infrastructure continue to suffer. Sadly, it is the ordinary 
people who continue to pay the price.


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