Professor Mthuli Ncube, Finance and Economic Development Minister has warned ZESA Holdings against hiking tariffs. He argued that a rise in tariffs would exacerbate the crisis that is already prevailing in the country due to power outages.
Ncube was speaking at a parliamentary hearing in Harare where he told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance that an increase in tariffs would be unwelcome. He said:
Any ill-advised sharp increase in ZESA tariff rates combined with power outages that we are already facing will be most unwelcome, and will certainly trigger another round of price increases and inflation.
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The power utility has introduced crippling load shedding schedules across the country which see households going without power for about 8 hours. ZESA Holdings, however, claimed that critical sectors of the economy including agriculture and mining were being spared of the load shedding.
Insufficiency of power has been attributed to dwindling water levels at Kariba dam and a technical fault at Hwange. The power utility has warned that at the current power generation rate, by September the generators would have been totally shut down.
More: ZBC News