(The Southern African Times) – Zimbabwe could miss its economic growth targets for the first quarter of this year due to losses in production time if power cuts in the country persist, according to local media citing stakeholders in the manufacturing and mining industries.
The stakeholders raised their concerns in the wake of an announcement by the state-owned power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) that there will be more load shedding because of maintenance at the Kariba Hydro Power Station.
The president of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe Isaac Kwesu said the power cuts will have a ripple effect resulting in higher production costs.
“Many businesses have reverted to alternative power sources, such as fuel-powered generators, which have become even more expensive to operate given the increase in global oil prices that has rippled to the local U.S.-dollar pump prices due to power supply failures,” Kwesu said.
The Zimbabwean government has estimated GDP growth this year will grow by 5.5 percent with strong performances in five sectors: agriculture, construction, manufacturing, mining and tourism.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of a crippling power crisis that has forced ZESA to import power from neighboring Mozambique and Zambia.
ZESA’s executive chairman Sydney Gata has previously faulted the country’s treasury for failing to sign an independent power producer (IPP) implementation agreement, which would speed construction of such projects and increase Zimbabwe’s power output potential.