Multiple exchange rates hurt Zesa

Ngoni Chanakira

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) says the use of multiple exchange rates for its services is among the major constraints hampering efficiency at the parastatal.
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Zesa general manager (corporate affairs) Obert Nyatanga said the parastatal was faced with multiple exchange rates for pre-payment of current electricity imports, arrears on imports, spares, operational and maintenance works, as well as value added tax on imports.


“The many exchange rates used are affecting us,” he said. “We have the rate used by Zimra which is $3 875. Then we have the official exchange rate which depends on the auction rate of the day, and then we have the parallel market rate which is used when we source spares from other players in the industry.”


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is now using the going rate which stood at $5 331,79 on Monday.


This is the rate that Zesa uses but it can change everytime an auction is held.


Nyatanga said the RBZ should prioritise foreign currency for Zesa imports because it is an essential service.


Before the introduction of the monetary policy statement by the new governor Gideon Gono, Zesa was given priority on foreign currency allocations.


This was however reversed when he took over in December last year.

The RBZ claims however that it still gives Zesa a priority on the auction floors.


“We need prioritisation on the auction floors,” Nyatanga said. “We are not always given first preference. They should prioritise the queuing system in use.”


He said the parastatal was in serious need of foreign currency for prepayment of current imports, increase in arrears due to non-payment, inability to service existing debt, and to secure spare parts for its dilapidated plants.


Zesa’s total electricity import arrears stand at US$56 million, down from US$109,7 million last year.


Total arrears on the Zesa bills stand at $58,8 billion as at May 20, with some over 90 days.