Ministry decries meagre funding

THE Energy ministry says it has received only 18% of its allocated 2018 budget, a development officials say has compromised service delivery this year, with no prospects of the money being released before year-end.

Of the allocated US$13 323 000 for the 2018 financial year, only US$2 416 778 was released by Treasury and spent by the ministry.

Chairperson of parliament’s energy and portfolio committee, Joel Gabbuza, in a 2019 pre-budget report said the bulk of the amount constituted employment costs and current transfers. Items such as acquisition of fixed capital assets and capital transfers had not received funds by September 30 2018.

Gabbuza said the inadequate release of the allocated funds by the Treasury, coupled with lack of foreign currency for procurement of imported components and products, resulted in the non-completion of key projects in the energy sector.

“The ultimate impact was poor service delivery to both the domestic and industrial sectors. Vandalism of property and leakages in the fuel sector further widened the demand and supply gap in the energy sector,” he said.

He also said the inadequate supply of resources resulted in ministry’s failure to consistently access affordable modern energy services and affordable energy tariffs and prices.

“The ultimate impact was poor service delivery to both the domestic and industrial sectors. Implementation of these noble goals is faced with inadequate funding,” he said.

Gabbuza said the ministry must comply with the requirements of Public Finances (Management) Act to enable the committee to have a better insight into financial performance. He also added that the ministry must also ensure the efficiency of state enterprises under its remit.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that the ministry was working in line with its strategic plan (2016-2020) which is anchored on 14 key goals centred on ensuring consistent provision of adequate sustainable and modern energy.
He said the key strategic policy priorities for the ministry are premised on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Gabbuza said stakeholders in the sector had noted overall inadequate funding to the Energy Ministry and recommended increased allocation of funds in the 2019 national budget.

They also noted inadequate funding towards pre-paid meters and smart metering and recommended increased resource allocation to Zesa to meet the demand, as this is critical in recouping the debt owed to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company and plugging revenue leakages associated with post-paid metering systems.

The ministry noted that the Zesa connection fees are too high and recommended better resource allocation to Zesa so that the power utility can subsidise connection fees, particularly for rural communities and mining operations. — Staff Writer.