Thursday, 23 December 2021

INVESTORS SHUNNING MY ADMINISTRATION, SAYS ED

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday bemoaned lack of funding for various infrastructural projects, admitting that investors were shunning his administration.

In a speech at the ground-breaking ceremony of Centragrid Solar Farm expansion project at Nyabira, Mnangagwa, who was represented by Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, said funding for key projects continued to elude his government.

Currently, the Nyabira project along Harare Chinhoyi Highway is adding 2,5 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

“Most lenders shy away from providing funding for our projects because of perceived risks emanating from sanctions imposed on us,” Mnangagwa said.

The disclosure is contrary to government claims that investors were stampeding to fund projects since Mnangagwa came into office in 2017. Government has announced a number of mega deals that are yet to take off.

Mnangagwa said while the country was targeting production of 2 000MW of power, funding was not forthcoming.

“The target is to generate power of 2 000MW capacity from renewable sources by 2030. This will not be reached without adequate funding.

“Many renewable projects, in particular solar have been licensed by the regulator. In fact, the capacity of these far exceeds our target, but most have failed to take off because they could not secure funding,” Mnangagwa said.

“We cannot fold our hands and continue to cry, we should come up with innovative ways to fund these projects.”

The National Social Security Authority (Nssa) and Old Mutual are funding the expansion to the tune of US$$30 million.

Nssa will provide US$$8 million while Old Mutual will cover the balance to produce 22,5MW of power.

Energy minister Soda Zhemu said Zimbabwe continued to face power challenges owing to antiquated infrastructure and droughts which affected hydro-powered plants.

Zhemu said the coming of private players into the energy sector would alleviate the country’s electricity problems which have seen heavy load shedding regimes which negatively impacts industries and homes.

The ground-breaking ceremony, which was initially supposed to be addressed by Mnangagwa was moved from 10am to 2pm, with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga expected to officiate. But he did not show up and Muchinguri was “pulled” out of her annual leave to come and preside over the function. Newsday

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