The Herald (Harare)

22 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Energy Sector Future Hinges On Minerals

The future of the energy sector in Zimbabwe hinges on the full exploitation of diamonds and other mineral resources whose proceeds could be channelled towards its development, a senior Government official has said.

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Mr Patson Mbiriri said this while addressing a meeting to review the just ended first diamond conference held in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

The diamond conference established that the country's gems were being sold at low prices on the international market due to sanctions that the United States and its European allies imposed on the minerals.

Mr Mbiriri said it was imperative that the gems be sold at the real value so that its revenue was channelled towards other sectors of the economy, especially energy.

"Diamonds as well as other mineral resources hold the future of the energy sector," he said.

He noted that his ministry was allocated a few million dollars to support the power sector.

"Certainly, it's not possible to perform miracles under these circumstances," he said.

The ministry was allocated US$20,7 million in the 2013 National Budget, an amount that falls far short of the requirements to fund a host of new power generation projects.

"What do we do with it? What do we prioritise in the sector that requires billions of dollars," he asked.

Zimbabwe faces a crippling energy crisis as supply, averaging 1 300MW falls far short of demand which peaks at 2 200MW.

The shortage has resulted in permanent introduction of load-shedding which has affected households and industry, at a time when the economy was still on a recovery path.

Zimbabwe has lined up a number of new energy projects which are expected to generate at least 5 000MW in the next 10 years although absence of capital to fund the projects remains the major obstacle.

New Ziana

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