State of the Energy Sector in Zimbabwe- full ministerial statement


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Energy Minister Fortune Chasi today issued a statement on the state of the energy sector in the country. Zimbabwe has been experiencing both power and fuel shortages for some time forcing President Emmerson Mnangagwa to demote then Energy Minister Joram Gumbo. Chasi’s statement was too general and short on detail as people are more interested in how and when he can end load shedding and fuel queues.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

STATE OF THE ENERGY SECTOR

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI): I wish to thank the House for this opportunity to give a statement on the state of the energy sector in the country. Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a very serious matter which is of immense public interest and I would plead that Hon. Members give me the opportunity to deliver my statement without undue heckling. I want to start Mr. Speaker, by saying that the energy sector is as good as the governance that we have got over it. I am going to be speaking about this in more detail later on in the speech but I want to start by ensuring that we are all at the same level regarding roles and responsibilities.

I want to speak about the Energy Regulatory Authority Act of 2011. This is the Act that creates the regulatory board that we commonly refer to as ZERA. This Act contains in Section 4, a panoply of mandates for ZERA, in fact about 18 of them. The responsibilities of this authority range from importation, transmission, distribution and many other aspects of the petroleum industry. ZERA is given unfettered power to preside over this industry. I also want to say that the same law requires that as ZERA does its work, it must not be subject to direction by anybody. I want to underline that anybody also refers to me as the Minister responsible for energy.

I also want to state my role as Minister of Energy and Power Development so that Members understand and are clear. The law also stipulates that the role of the Minister is simply to issue general policy direction. I have given this preface so that the Hon. House is very clear as to what is expected of me and what is expected of ZERA itself. In broad terms, I have clarified the role of ZERA and the role of the Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Please, excuse me I cannot speak.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister …

HON. CHASI: They are distracting me …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, no – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Minister, cool down.

HON. CHASI: Mr. Speaker, I have given the background relating to the law because I intend to be legal in everything that I am going to be doing.

Mr. Speaker, I want to underline that regulation is about law and I want to apply the applicable law. I also want to state that the problem we have in this sector arose from disrespect for the law, lack of corporate governance and I will be able to demonstrate that as I go through the statement. I then want to say having identified that problem, because I have read a lot about each of the parastatals, it is quite evident to me that whether structure or foreign currency is in place we will not be able to sort out the issues at hand unless we deal with the issues of corporate governance.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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