Zambia, Zimbabwe keen on hydro-electric scheme
THE governments of the republic of Zambia and Zimbabwe have reaffirmed their commitment towards the construction of Batoka Gorge Hydro- electric Scheme (BGHES) on the Zambezi River.
The two governments have however raised concern over the continued delays of the start of the project.
Speaking during the official opening of 36th Council of ministers meeting of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) in Vic Falls, Zimbabwe on Friday, Outgoing Chairperson Minister of Energy and Power Development in Zimbabwe Jorum Gumbo said that the BGHES remains an important project which the two governments must fulfill.
Mr. Gumbo said that the meeting in Zimbabwe presents an important platform for a review of the authority’s current year performance and provide policy direction to guide authority operations in the coming year. “The agenda of today’s meeting shall amongst other critical issues, review progress on the Kariba Dam rehabilitation project, the Batoka
Gorge Hydro-electric Scheme, the impact of the authorities corporate social responsibility programmes on the communities, the sustainability of the authority cooperation and approval of the 2019 budget,” he said.
Mr. Gumbo charged that It is the mandate of the meeting of council of ministers to provide policy direction to guide management on matters of critical importance affecting the authority’s capacity to discharge its special mandate.
He said that the recent months have witnessed a lot of interest being expressed in the Batoka project, which is a positive indicator of the commercial interest of the project.
“It is therefore, imperative that we move with speed to conclude the preparation studies in order to capitalise on this surge in interest being expressed in the project,” he said.
“This meeting should be penultative the way forward on the Batoka BGHES project,” he said. “Our principals are now agitated by the delays in completion of the preparatory studies and if we do not move with speed they might take their own route on project implementation and for us the ministers present here our jobs could be in line of fire,” he added.
“….i think those around the table here heard me loud and clear as I think they heard me and I think if our jobs are going to be on line I think we must also turn around and also put their jobs on line, so its scratch my back and I scratch yours,” said Mr. Gumbo.
And Energy Minister of Zambia Matthews Nkhuwa who is the incoming chairperson starting January 1, 2019 urged council members to keep their eyes on the ball and make sure they approve deliverables that are supposed to approve.