Godfrey Marawanyika/ Shakeman Mugari
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), which was this month forced to reduce its unilateral 400% hike, was charging some local companies US$0,9 cents per k
ilowatt, a rate way above regional rates, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), has said.
In their submissions to the central bank on the review of the monetary policy statement the CZI said the charges being levied by Zesa were too high.
“Zesa has implemented a significant hike in tariffs. Most of the companies are now paying in excess of US$0,9 cents for KwH,” the CZI said. “This is massively above regional averages and needs urgently to be addressed.”
Last month Zesa was taken to court by a number of local firms over the unilateral price hike. The company subsequently lost its case in the Bulawayo High Court.
A fortnight ago, Zesa eventually reduced its tariff hikes from between 29-45% while at the same time government has appointed a local consultancy firm to conduct a study on the electricity pricing.
Zesa spokesperson Shepherd Mandizvidza could not shed light on the previous pricing and referred all inquiries to the group’s corporate affairs general manager, Obert Nyatanga.
Nyatanga was not available for comment by the time of going to press as he was said to be attending a series of meetings before going to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
In the past, Zesa justified their increments, saying this was being done to offset money owed to regional suppliers.
In their submissions CZI also highlighted that the National Railways of Zimbabwe was facing serious problems and needed assistance from government.
“NRZ is still experiencing major delays. Some shipping lines are still refusing to allow their containers to travel on NRZ,” the CZI said. “This should be a priority for investment from government. For example if its is known that on Mondays and Thursdays trains will go to Durban and return from Durban and that schedule is maintained then confidence in the system will return. Initially the trains will run at a loss and under capacity but once confidence grows then utilisation will increase.”
CZI, which had most of their policy recommendations accepted by the central bank, noted that the trust between government and the private sector still remained very low.
“Both sides have contributed to this problem. On its side, government has failed to deliver on numerous policy commitments and bureaucracy remains a major impediment to efficient business operation,” CZI said. “On the other hand, elements within the private sector have taken advantage of these distortions to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation.”