Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
ZIMBABWE is not exporting power to Namibia as believed, but the country is only offsetting an outstanding debt, an official has said. Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC)/Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) stakeholders workshop in Masvingo on Friday last week, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings spokesman Mr Fullard Gwasira said NamPower from Namibia advanced $40 million for the refurbishment of Hwange Power Station and the deal entailed paying back the loan through a power export agreement.
“The Namibian government through NamPower invested $40 million in the construction of a power station in Zimbabwe. This was done on condition that we would repay the loan over a period of time. We are already repaying through supplying them with power,” said Mr Gwasira.
He said supply of power to Namibia amounted to amortization of debt that the power utility owed.
“Firstly it should be known that we do not have power to spare. In fact we have power deficit already and that is why we have introduced load shedding and urging our customers to use power sparingly. It is against this background that we cannot export power but what is happening with NamPower deal is that instead of paying the money back, we are giving them power and I am glad to announce very soon this year we would have finished servicing our debt. This is simply amortization of our debt and not exporting power,” he said.
“It is as good as when someone sells a friend car tyres or battery on credit. Instead of getting money, the person may choose to be transported to and from work every day until the transport fare accrued is equivalent to the value of tyres or the battery.”
Mr Gwasira said the power utility Zesa continued to face challenges in meeting power demand for the country adding that the region was also grappling with power shortages.
“We are unable to meet power demand due to the liquidity crunch. The region has a similar problem that even those we import power from face similar challenges,” he said.