The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has urged the power utility, ZESA, to prioritise the ICT sector in the distribution of electricity.
POTRAZ Head of Consumer Affairs and Publicity George Manyaya said that the sector should also be prioritised in accessing fuel.
Speaking in Mahusekwa, Mashonaland East on Saturday, Manyanya said:
We are lobbying Zesa that the ICT sector is prioritised when it comes to power.
To the extent possible, Zesa should prioritise the transmission and core network so that data centres, hub sites, and hub centres among others, should not be subjected to load shedding.
Even in terms of accessing fuel, network operators need to be prioritised.
This will enable consumers to transact and communicate both locally and globally. ICT is the spine of the economy as it is intertwined with health, education, agriculture to tourism hence viability and sustainability of the sector are paramount for us to continue being open for business.
Manyanya reiterated the importance of mobile money platforms, which are however negatively affected when power is cut. He added:
There is nothing you can do without communication. Imagine 5 minutes without mobile financial services; no Ecocash, One-money or Telecash? Every transaction lost means revenue loss for the government.
The nationwide challenge of commercial electricity has affected the sector as all base stations run on electricity as their primary source of power…those without generators will only be able to provide service for the few hours the electricity is available.
Manyanya’s remarks resonate with the sentiments expressed by Econet, the country’s biggest MNO. Econet recently warned the government that if the power situation is not addressed urgently, it will take drastic measures to safeguard its operations.
The mobile giant issued the ominous statement following a network blackout that lasted for hours following a power cut at its network centre.