With seemingly no end in sight to the crippling nationwide power cuts, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, disclosed that the only reason why the country did not experience load shedding in the past four or five years is that the Central Bank funded the power imports.
Mangudya was addressing a business breakfast meeting on Monday in Harare. He said:
Zesa does not necessarily have enough local dollars for foreign currency, and that one is a fact.
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And, it is true that there is sub-economic pricing and that people do not pay Zesa. Zesa is owed too much money by those using the electricity, that’s true.
So while you had your electricity for four or five years we were paying for it all of us as a country because Zesa was able to purchase currency using that overdraft from government and that was happening, and is a fact of life.
So, if today you are trying to analyse the US$3 billion (overdraft facility) and how much Zesa was granted in that figure while your business was running we need now to do a cost-benefit analysis for the economy.
ZESA reportedly charges the lowest power tariffs on the African continent and is also owed hundreds of millions of dollars by businesses, government departments and private citizens.
Meanwhile, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi in South Africa where he is discussing the possibility of Eskom resuming power exports to ZESA.
Chasi is expected to travel to Mozambique as well on a similar mission.