Power Shortages Cripple Zimbabwe’s Manufacturing Sector

Power Shortages Cripple Zimbabwe's Manufacturing Sector
Image Credit: Zimbabwe Independent

Continued electricity loading shedding is having a negative impact on Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector.

Nampak Zimbabwe Limited (NPKZ) Group Company Secretary, Keith Nicholson in a Trading Update for the Third Quarter and Nine Months Ended 30 June 2019 says the power outages have increased operation costs within his industry.

“Near-crippling power shortages are having a severe impact on production schedules, necessitating increased use of generators and adaptation of working hours at the plants, partly to night shifts, to utilise electricity when it is available,” Nicholson says. “This has resulted in increased operating costs.”

“The economy is facing strong headwinds. It is unlikely that any meaningful relief will be forthcoming to the manufacturing sector until the critical constraints of foreign exchange and power supply are eased.”

Zimbabwean authorities introduced loading shedding after power shortages caused by low water to generate electricity at Kariba Dam and the breakdown of outdated equipment at Hwange Thermal Power Station as well as other government-owned generating plants.

This has resulted in the country which has an installed capacity to produce around 2000 MW generating only 1 200 MW.

By July 2019, Zimbabwe was suffering from a 600 MW power deficit before South Africa’s Eskom supplied 400 MW into the Zimbabwean grid to reduce the load shedding time to 8 hours from 18 hours.

On power rationing, the country was taking note of other production sectors which include the wheat farmers.

Zimbabwe is also planning to reach out to Mozambique’s Cahorra Bassa in order to normalise electricity supply.

The country is also reaching out to investors to add more power to the national grid.

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