By Rudo Saungweme
Minister of Energy and Power Development, Advocate Fortune Chasi said the electricity challenge facing the nation was a very serious issue that needed a holistic approach by all stakeholders.
The Minister said this whilst addressing Zanu PF legislators at a caucus meeting held in Harare recently.
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has arrears of 83 million dollars mostly to Eskom of South Africa, and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique, said the Minister.
Honourable Chasi said that the situation had worsened as ZESA was failing to service its internal debt.
ZESA is owed close to 3 billion dollars by individuals, corporates and local authorities. Minister Chasi said Legislators should encourage debtors to pay their dues to ZESA. He added that legislators have a mandate to assist in finding alternative sources of power and energy such as solar energy.
Honourable Chasi indicated that his Ministry intends to withdraw licences from power companies that are failing to implement projects to increase power generation for the national grid.
On the issue of fuel challenge facing the country, Honourable Chasi said that the shortage of foreign currency in the country was making it difficult to acquire enough fuel.
Speaking during the same meeting, Zanu PF National Chairman and Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Cde Oppah Muchinguri- Kashiri encouraged legislators to support cabinet ministers in their economic turnaround efforts.
Cde Muchinguri said her office had many projects that legislators could implement in their respective constituencies. The Minister of Defence gave an example of a baking project and said that the women development fund being administered by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development was easier to access loans compared to the Women Development Bank loans.