HARARE – One of the major problems confronting Zimbabwe today is frequent power outages.
While in the advanced countries its rare to experience power outages, we in Zimbabwe have come to accept the situation as normal at the detriment of the national economy.
However, with the new government in place, this is the right time for the new administrators to come up with policies that promote increased generation of electricity to meet the country’s growing needs.
The country has been facing continuous power cuts for the past 10 years yet there seem to be no solution in sight.
Indeed, if the previous governments had given the sector the priority it deserved, we would not have been talking about power outages.
Zanu PF has ruled this country for almost 34 years.
This means that if they had set aside $100 million each year, enough money would have been raised by now to tackle the problem head on, but this did not happen.
The growth and sustainability of every economy hinges on the availability and constant supply of power, yet our past and present governments did or do not see this as a priority area that must be given due attention.
We wish to caution that if the problem of power outages, which has been with this country for a long time, is not addressed, the $100 billion economy we envisage by 2040, would remain a pipe dream.
Before an investor invests in an economy, a constant supply of power is the first area that he or she would look for.
Therefore, we would be laughing on the wrong side of our mouths, if we accept the current situation as normal.
We admit that as a third world country, raising $11,3 billion — for refurbishing current electricity plants — is not an easy task, but if the government uses the right approach, the issue could be addressed.
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) recently warned of intensified power cuts in the coming months due to its annual plant maintenance at Kariba and Hwange.
However, the country will continue to face power shortages well after the refurbishment period because Zimbabwe requires 2 200 megawatts (MW) per day while ZPC is currently producing an average of about 861MW, with 150MW being exported to Namibia as repayment of a loan paid to refurbish Hwange Power Station in 2007.
As we noted earlier, no country can develop without an adequate supply of power, so we need to address energy-related problems with speed, instead of sitting down for the problem to exacerbate.
At 33, Zimbabwe should not be experiencing constant power outages. We sincerely hope minister Dzikamai Mavhaire will address this problem once and for all and confound critics.