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Energy council shoots down Zesa reforms

The Zimbabwe Energy Council has said Cabinet should focus on privatising entities, strengthening corporate governance structures and employing more competent people on the board instead of creating one board for Zesa Holdings.

Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa announced last week that Cabinet had approved the collapsing into one board from the power utility boards.

The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and Zesa Enterprises, as part of reforms for State enterprises.

Energy Council executive director Panganai Sithole has shot down the proposal.

"ZPC is a company that can generate its own resources but what it needs to do is have its own investors, so what we need to do with our power sector is sort of re-evaluate it, the whole power sector.

"We need ZPC to be a standalone company with private investors, so that it can go out and look for its own monies.

"It does not need government support and after all the government does not even have support," he said.

"ZETDC should be a standalone institution (it does not even get funding from government) that should go out and get resources. Before this, (the establishment of a singular board) the government had thought of separating the entities where ZETDC was going to become a standalone company and ZPC was going to be a standalone company that was the way to go."

Sithole said without good corporate governance, the same problems plaguing the boards of ZPC, ZETDC and Zesa Enterprises would continue.

"So my comment from ZEC is that these things should not be independent of each other, you cannot have a board without improved code of conduct or the good governance act, which the government was speaking about.

"I think that should come first…the second thing it is not about having one body it is also about having the quality of the people of the board.

"If you look at the quality of the people on the board they left a lot to be desired," he said.

Chinamasa said the Zesa board would be allowed to engage strategic partners under the ZPC operations were necessary.

"Let me just say this that at present ZPC owns the Kariba generation plants, both the old and the new as well as the Hwange Colliery.

"These will remain the property of ZPC but any future developments can include strategic partners as is already the case with Hwange 7 and 8 where we have a minority shareholder with 15% by way of Sino Hydro," he said.

ZPC is an investment vehicle in the power generation, ZENT an investment arm of Zesa and ZETDC's responsible for transmission, distribution as well as retailing electricity to end users, the singular board will be responsible for tackling tariffs among other challenges.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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