Govt introduces duty waiver on solar products as Zesa crisis persists

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By Leopold Munhende

AS the country’s electricity crisis deepens, government has been forced to waiver duty on all imported solar equipment, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said at a post-Cabinet media briefing Tuesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has met his counterparts from both South Africa and Mozambique for possible power imports with little progress despite Energy Minister Fortune Chasi having been asked to make follow-up meetings.

Minister Mutsvangwa said cabinet has agreed, “That a large scale programme be implemented to promote the importation, local production of solar equipment and the use of solar power as an alternative energy source”.

“In this regard, special incentives shall be provided through duty waivers on imported solar equipment while it shall be mandatory for all new construction projects to be solar powered,” said Mutsvangwa.

Zimbabweans have had to endure up to 15 hours of power outages daily as production at Kariba plummeted due to critically low water levels after a crippling drought while some units at Hwange remain grounded.

Chasi is expected to fly to South Africa again, weeks after government paid US$10 million of the US$38 million it owes the nieghbouring country’s power utility, Eskom in a bid to trigger fresh negotiations on supplies.

Early this week, Zimbabwe and Zambia waivered both governments’ procedures to award a power plant tender to America’s General Electric and a Chinese firm to undertake the Batoka Gorge power project.