By Derick Tsimba
Afreximbank has agreed to give the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC), a US$79 million loan for use in payment of the Company’s electricity imports debt.
Whilst, the agreement is yet to be finalised the Harare Post has established that the loan will attract a 12% interest.
A well placed contact said ZETDC had already been instructed to open an account with England-based Standard Chartered Bank.
The contact informed that once the money has been disbursed, the power utility would pay Hydroelectricity De Cahora Bassa (HCB) US$55m, Electricity De Mozambique (EDM) US$18m, and the remaining US$6m would go to Eskom.
ZETDC’s electricity import debt stands at over US$74 million. Some of the companies owed by ZETDC apart from HCB, Eskom and EDM are Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has written to ZETDC demanding it to settle US$53 million it paid to Eskom on its behalf.
Although ZETDC Board acknowledged the debt, it intends to pay in local currency, while the RBZ demanded payment in USD currency, as it is aware that the power utility has capacity to do so, since it is receiving US$12 million each month from export companies who are paying their electricity bills in USD.
The settlement of ZETDC import debt will allow the country to have a stable supply of electricity to its productive and industrial sectors. Currently, the country needs electricity supply for winter wheat production as well as a constant supply of electricity for the export industry.