By Alois Vinga
ENERGY Minister, Joram Gumbo says private investors are welcome to venture in power related projects in a move that could see the country leapfrog in its bid to establish a US$8 billion worth energy infrastructure needed to address the nation’s power deficit.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy at a recent Zimbabwe Infrastructure Summit, Gumbo said government alone does not have capacity to raise enough capital to put in place the required infrastructure to end the nation’s power woes.
“With the cost of addressing the power infrastructure supply needs of Zimbabwe standing at US$8 billion, the government cannot foot the bill alone.
“Therefore, a clarion call for private sector participation is fundamental,” he said.
Gumbo said government was open to all models of funding like Private Public Partnerships and the Built Operate and Transfer models as they were advantageous for developing nations.
He said the sector has been liberalised and an independent regulatory authority has since been set up to level the playing field through the enactment of comprehensive policies addressing energy issues.
Speaking at the same occasion, African Development Bank’s ZimFund manager, Emmanuel Nzabanita said that Zimbabwe has huge potential to revamp its energy sector if it created an enabling environment for the private sector to come on board.
“What is simply lacking in the country is adequate capital and in my opinion, this simply requires authorities to put in place the proper policy framework.
“Institutions like the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority need to be efficiently managed because if by chance, there are corruption issues and losses being incurred, then the private sector will be discouraged from coming on board,” he said.
Nzabanita said the country was strategically positioned and if it develops adequate infrastructure, Southern African countries can access energy through the country’s routes while Zimbabweans in the diaspora can also be motivated to invest in the energy market if the playing field is levelled.