Government has paid its US$35 million obligation for the expansion of Kariba South Power Station and the contractor, Sino-Hydro of China, is expected to begin work on-site soon, a Cabinet minister has said.
The project will cost about US$355 million and China Export and Import Bank will provide US$319,5 million — representing 90 percent of the total project cost. Government, through the Zimbabwe Power Company, covered the balance.
Energy and Power Development Minister Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire told The Herald on Tuesday that a ground-breaking ceremony would be held soon.
In 2012, ZPC signed the agreement for the project with Sino-Hydro, an engineering, procurement and construction company.
Minister Mavhaire said: “As Government we have done our part by paying the US$35 million that was required in the agreement. There is no turning back on the project and it will go undisturbed now because the other party (Sino-Hydro) is also playing its part and we are committed.”
Two units — the first of which is scheduled for commissioning in 2017 — with capacity to generate 300 megawatts will be built at Kariba South to improve electricity supply in the country.
“They are already on the site and they are moving in their heavy machinery. As you are aware this is a big project and heavy machinery is to be used. With the developments taking place, we hope and trust that soon we will request his Excellency President Mugabe to do the ground-breaking ceremony for us,” Minister Mavhaire said.
The deal was delayed by a U$25 million debt owed Sino-Hydro by the Industrial Development Corporation and Farmers World Holdings. The two firms were supposed to clear the debt first before new funding became available and arrears paid of last year.
A loan agreement between Government and China Export and Import Bank was signed in late 2013 paving way for construction.
From : All Africa
23 January 2014