By Alois Vinga
LEADING retail group, OK Zimbabwe Limited has implored government to consider reducing diesel prices in the short term so as to enable production at a reasonable cost, in the wake of electricity outages.
The calls come at a time when the country is experiencing one of its worst power outages.
The outages being experienced across sectors sometimes go for up to almost 20 hours a day.
While the crises have eased off towards the festive season, fears remain high that load shedding will resume early next year.
Presenting the group’s performance for the six months ended September 30, 2022, OK Zimbabwe chairman, Herbert Nkala urged government to provide incentives for companies willing to venture into green energy production.
“The country faces a severe shortage of electricity generation capacity that is likely to have an adverse impact on operations. Use of diesel-powered generators for cooling and baking in our stores will increase operational costs.
“We urge the government to provide relief mechanisms on diesel prices in the short term and also provide incentives for private sector investments in renewable energy sources,” said Nkala.
The call comes at a time when government has tabled plans to engage Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to plug shortages
Meanwhile, during the review period, revenue for the half year grew by 35% to ZW$129 billion from ZW$96 billion in the comparative period.
Volumes, which had marginally grown by 1% during the first quarter, declined during the second quarter to result in a net decrease of 8 % over the half year owing to depressed consumer spending power.
Profit before tax for the period increased by 150% and in historical cost terms, the revenue segment was ZW$3,5 billion representing a 300% increase.
Profit after tax increased by 193% whilst in historical cost terms, the net profit increased by 307% to ZW$ 2.2 billion.
“The group utilised borrowings to fund its strategic growth initiatives in accordance with its medium to short-term growth plans. The increase in interest rates resulted in the net governance charges increasing by 119%,” added Nkala.