HomePoliticsLet’s get priorities right

Let’s get priorities right

LAST Friday electricity in the Southerton, Workington, Msasa and New Ardbennie industrial areas was cut off at 1pm. The reason given by the Zesa control centre was that the Minister of Energy Elias Mudzuri had given a directive to divert all power to non-productive, residential consumer use for the purposes of watching World Cup soccer matches.

The World Cup taking place in South Africa is a great event without a doubt, but why should we as a nation compromise our industrial output. I have been looking forward to the World Cup and I am actually going to South Africa to watch a game, but the decision to compromise national output baffles me.

We had delivery deadlines to meet at my workplace on Friday, but because of the power cut we lost valuable productive time and we were unable to deliver. If I had to chose between football and my work, I would certainly choose my work because neither football nor (Fifa president) Sepp Blatter bring food on my table, including that of many other diligent Zimbabwean employers and employees.

What worries me more is that the staff at Zesa control said we must brace ourselves for more of these industrial power cuts. Football is a lovely game, but I would rather not watch the World Cup if industrial output is going to be compromised (imagine what the attitude of someone who does not even follow soccer would be).  Should nostalgia and memories of SA 2010 be blemished by the resultant low industrial output in 10 years time?

As a matter of fact industry only accounts for 8% of national electricity consumption. This statistic is poignant because the bulk of electricity consumption is going towards non-productive, consumptive residential use. Our economy will never recover given such a situation. This is precisely the reason why we still have load-shedding during weekends and holidays when industry is shut: industry’s electricity consumption is small. In a vibrant economy industry should account for 30-40% of electricity consumption, household 10% while the rest goes to sectors of the economy such as mining and agriculture.

Mudzuri needs to review his decision to compromise national industrial output. Our world is not centred on soccer. Where was the Minister of Industry and Trade Welshman Ncube when such decisions were being made and implemented? I am a soccer lover but the World Cup will not contribute anything meaningful to the fiscus.

Can Zesa and the responsible ministry please make alternative plans that do not have negative ramifications for industry. There may be excitement and euphoria about the World Cup but let us set our priorities right.

Avondale, Harare.

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