FOUR public utilities whose performance is crucial for the restoration of production capacity across key sectors of the economy have b
een allocated $146,4 trillion in the 2008 national budget.
Presenting the 2008 budget to parliament yesterday, Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said the money would be shared between Zesa Holdings, the Rural Electrification Agency, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the National Railways of Zimbabwe to address structural bottlenecks in energy, water and transport sectors, among others.
On Hwange, which is key to industrial production and electricity general, Mumbengegwi said government would work with stakeholders to mobilise resources for its recapitalisation, coupled with a timely review of coal prices to reflect production costs.
Zesa, which is failing to meet local production and finance power imports from neighboring countries, was allocated $5,5 trillion for ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of power generation works.
Mumbengegwi said this would be complemented by demand management measures that would include periodic tariff reviews to reflect costs as well as energy conservation awareness campaigns.
A total of $80 trillion was allocated towards the rural electrification programme and $10 trillion for electricity end-use infrastructure development to encourage income-generating projects and irrigation in rural areas.
The development of alternative energy sources, including bio-diesel and ethanol, solar and bio-gas, received $5 trillion.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority that is failing to ensure water supplies in urban centres due to ageing infrastructure, lack of spares and equipment for repairs, was allocated $48 trillion.
Mumbengegwi allocated $2,2 trillion to the NRZ for upgrading rail infrastructure.
He said this would be complemented by targeted provision of foreign currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to procure more wagons, locomotives and refurbishment of signaling and telecommunication networks. The NRZ’s signaling system has been blamed for a number of train accidents.