This project will guarantee investment in Poverty Eradication, Education, Health, Job Creation and Economic Development particularly in Lupane District in line with the Devolution Agenda where power must be devolved to local communities to facilitate equal development. This project is a massive investment that will, to a large extent, transform the Zimbabbwe economy in synch with Vision 2030 where Government envisages achieving an Upper-Middle Income Economy Status. Methane gas is mostly used for power generation and fertilizer production.
First of all, I would like to talk about power generation. The truth of the matter is that we have an energy crisis in Zimbabwe. This is so because our grid is unable to generate enough electricity to meet the national demand. At the same time, we cannot pay for adequate power imports owing to foreign currency shortages. Meanwhile, the total demand for electricity is currently around 2030 megawatts, whereas the supply is only around 1200 megawatts; meaning we have a deficit of around 1830 megawatts, hence the reason why we are importing 35% of Zimbabwe Power from South African and Mozambique. On the other hand, most of the people in rural areas use firewood for cooking, causing deforestation. According to the Forestry Commission, Zimbabwe is losing about 330 000 hectares of forests annually. If the situation continues without being addressed, we will end up with no forest at all.
This is pointing to the urgent need for Government to develop a clear strategy on how to extract gas in Lupane-Lubimbi area. Methane gas is only used for the production of fertilizer. The sad reality is that currently we are importing fertilizer. In 2020, Zimbabwe imported fertilizer to the tune of US$235 million. This money can build up to 2350 schools at a cost of USD100 000 each and this will translate into 180 schools in all the 13 districts in Matabeleland North and about 12 schools in each of the 193 wards in Matabeleland North. This will result in children not having to walk for more than 5 km every day going to school.
I am raising these issues to demonstrate the urgent need for the extraction of coal-bed methane gas in Lupane-Lubimbi area. It is therefore of paramount importance that this project is kick-started so that we stop importing fertilizer and energy spending billions of dollars which can be invested in other areas such as education, health, water and sanitation just to mention a few. In view of this, I am therefore calling on Government as a matter of urgency, to look for a big investor on a Build Operate and Transfer (B.O.T) agreement so that the investor deposits about 10-15 billion USD to the country and be allowed to harvest the gas for about 20-25 years and then transfer to Government.
Priority must be given to locals like Mr. Strive Masiyiwa because they understand our situation very well and recently, he became the first black billionaire to break into the Sunday Times Rich list. This 10-15 billion dollars project must be injected into agriculture, manufacturing and mining sectors which will in turn, boost our economy and generate the much needed jobs and foreign currency. This money will also be used to clear our debt arrears so that we start to operate a normal economy.
Development is not Rocket Science, but development is about copying from others. It is about discovering what others did to improve their economies. It is high time we discover what other countries did with their mineral resources in building strong economies. A case in point is Angola. They looked for a big investor for their oil on a B.O.T. basis but look at where they are now. Dubai was a desert but look at what they did with their oil. They turned their country into an attraction for everyone because they took advantage of their God given mineral resource.
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