GOVERNMENT is willing to give investment incentives to strategic sectors such as energy, a senior cabinet Minister has said.
This was said last week Thursday by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa during the commissioning of the Kupinga Hydro power project in Chipinge. The US$5,7 million hydropower station constructed by Old Mutual in partnership with Kupinga Renewable Energy (Private) Limited company has a capacity of 1,6MW.
Minister Chinamasa said there were still many available investment opportunities in renewable energy projects countrywide particularly in solar energy technologies and small hydro power development. He said Government is willing to give various investment incentives that can be given to investors in strategic sectors such as energy.
“These include tax holiday, national project status and exemption from payment of withholding tax as well as cost reflective tariffs,” said the Finance Minister.
Construction of the hydro power station began in 2014 and ended late last year. The power station started feeding power into the national grid in January this year.
The 1,6MW from Kupinga power station is expected to contribute a third of Chipinge town energy consumption which stands at 5MW.
Minister Chinamasa said the country’s productive sectors were currently operating at sub optimal levels as demand for power is depressed.
”As the economy grows the demand for power also increases so there is need for investment in the energy sector,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Government has over the years undertaken some reforms in the energy sector that also included liberalisation of the sector to allow for the participation of Independent power producers (IPP).”What we are witnessing now is a result of hard work put by Old Mutual into the development of Kupinga Hydro Power Station. I would like to applaud Old Mutual for supporting Government infrastructure development programmes as enunciated in ZIMASSET”, said Chinamasa.
Local communities were urged to take advantage of the opportunities that come with this investment. The project also empowered the community through employment. The majority of the project works were provided by the Rusitu community members. The project employed artisans, bricklayers and builders from the local community. The community formed a partnership that turned a previously unutilised body of water into a multi-million dollar power generation project.
“Access to reliable power supply will help unlock opportunities for the local communities through job creation, empowerment of locals as they can do many activities without worrying about power constraints, sustainable farming activities, value addition of agricultural output and minerals, an improved education and health systems as well as general lighting of homes making difficult chores for locals relatively lighter,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Old Mutual group chief executive officer Mr Jonas Mushosho said the investment in power generation was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility. ”Apart from investing in power generation, Old Mutual have also invested $200 000 into the construction of a multi-purpose hall at Sterksroom Secondary School. The school is in Sazunza village, approximately 500 metres away from the power station. Old Mutual employees mobilised $10 000 towards the construction of Saziya Clinic,” said Mushosho.
Other sites that have been prioritised for hydro power development include, Tokwe-mukosi in Masvingo with a capacity of 15MW, Gairezi in Nyanga 30MW, Rusitu 11,4.5MW and Tsanga in Chipinge 3,3MW.
Minister Chinamasa also revealed that many other hydro projects had been identified countrywide but still needed feasibility studies for development of power generation in the long run. He said there are at least 20 potential hydro power plants dam sites dotted around the country.