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US$310m loan for Bulawayo, Hwange thermal units

by Staff reporter
15 Nov 2021 at 05:23hrs | Views
A loan facility of US$310 million is being negotiated with India to fix Bulawayo and Hwange thermal power stations, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation celebrations, Minister Ncube said various other loan facilities were being extended through the Export and Import Bank of India to support the energy sector.

India is a major user, producer and supplier of equipment for coal-fed thermal power stations.

Among the repairs, replacements and upgrades required is US$110 million for upgrading the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station to its installed capacity of 100MW from the current average 30MW, upgrading of the Deka pumping station and river water system and US$300 million for continuing work on the older six units at Hwange Thermal Power Station, he said.

The Hwange units were commissioned in the 1980s and while efforts are being made to catch up on maintenance, a fair amount of the equipment now needs to be replaced.

Minister Ncube said the Government was appreciative of the Indian support in extending a loan facility for the revamping of energy products.

"We will be sourcing again other resources going forward for other energy projects and work with the Energy Ministry to make sure that we target those with the biggest impact on our energy supply," he said.

Minister Ncube said on the Bulawayo project, the Government was looking at the best way to make use of the availed money, probably going green.

The Bulawayo station, with its newest units dating back to the 1950s, needs to be replaced, offering a lot of options over what they should be replaced with.

"We are looking at perhaps the best way to make use of the money," said Minister Ncube.

"Is it the thermal power station or is it the solar project which is much easier to implement and more efficient in terms of energy?"

Minister Ncube said Government was also looking for further support going forward in other areas, especially in the Information Communication Technology sector where India seemed to have a comparative advantage globally.

"This is because we want to grow our digital economy which is a key pillar of the National Development Strategy 1," he said.

India has a central position in the supply of software around the world.

Source - The Herald