Govt allows Zesa to charge exporters in forex

By Joel Mandaza

ZESA`s proposal to charge exporters in foreign currency has finally been granted as Government has adopted the idea into law through a statutory instrument.

The power utility which has been facing liquidity challenges has been pushing to access hard currency through tariffs as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe forex distribution system is facing pressure.

Statutory Instrument 249 of 2019 which was published recently states that businesses that export have to pre-fund their access to power.

“Subject to subsection (2), any designated consumer of electricity may enter into a contract or memorandum of agreement with ZESA to pay in advance for the supply of electricity by ZESA in foreign currency,” Section 5 (1) of the statutory instrument reads.

Zimbabwe has been facing load shedding due to non-payment of debts owed to foreign power utilities including South Africa`s Eskom.

The money which will be paid directly into ZESA accounts by exporters will be used for machinery spares and power importation.

Section 6 (2) states the way the money will be handled.

“ZESA shall not make any withdrawals or payments from any foreign currency account referred to in subsection (1) without prior written approval of the Reserve Bank and the amount accrued in the account shall be used and applied for and to the— (a) purchasing of electricity outside Zimbabwe; (b)
importation of spare parts, critical assets and components needed to maintain the local generation, transmission, distribution and retail infrastructure of the electricity network to ensure sustainable supply; (c) payment of external insurance for critical infrastructure;(d) payment of external loan repayments.”

The order carried in the Statutory Instrument is temporary as it is expected to last for six months, although there is an option for the Government to extend it if the power situation does not improve until then

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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