Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Zimbabwe business mulls night-shift, weekend operations

by Staff reporter
14 Dec 2022 at 06:31hrs | Views
INDUSTRY representative bodies are considering adopting night and weekend shifts as a short-term strategy to mitigate the adverse impact of crippling power cuts while ensuring steady production.

Given the subdued power generation in the country and across the region, which has been compounded by the drastic cut in output at the giant Kariba Hydro-Power Station due to low water levels, the productive sector fears this could disrupt economic operations and threatens critical industrial supplies.
While Government has said it is working flat out to secure energy supplies from regional producers, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), says the adoption of weekend and night shifts could alleviate the burden.

The industry lobby body's national president, Mr Kurai Matsheza, said such temporary relief measures could be helpful.

"We urge businesses to shift operations into nights and weekends when power is usually available.

We're also urging the Government to consider reducing fuel taxes to reduce the burden on those who will be using diesel generators," he said.

Mr Matsheza said the power supply gap has recently become a serious drag on production and could weigh down on the country's projected positive gains.

Without adequate electricity, he said business was not able to operate efficiently and that even as they switch to other alternatives, the cost of production shoots up.

"Those that can pass on the cost increases to consumers will do so but some may not be able to do so in full," said Mr Matsheza.

"Those that cannot recover costs will be driven to loss position. To cushion themselves, retrenchments may be implemented, hence putting people onto the streets."

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland Chapter chairman, Mr Mackenzie Dongo, also said the ongoing unplanned load shedding has grossly affected most businesses, forcing many to use generators, which are proving to be very expensive.

"This is adding to the cost build-up, which will eat into business profits. It's also seriously affecting productivity, which is at its peak period during the festive period," he said.

"This is usually the best time that companies maximise on sales to cover up for bad months and the fact that most shelves have local products available is testimony that our local industries were bouncing back from effects of Covid 19 and good economic recovery."

Mr Dongo said investing in alternative energy sources like solar was critical even though it is expensive in terms of capital outlay. He reiterated the need for the Government to simplify processes and procedures to allow for the importation and installation of solar systems as a long-term strategy.

"A good solar policy needs to be crafted and implemented, which may also see us being a net exporter of power if good incentives are availed to businesses to invest in solar farms," he said.

Meanwhile, Government has said measures are being taken to ramp up generation capacity at thermal power stations and increase power imports to cover the gap created by Kariba Power Station, which has halved output to about 300MW.

Energy and Power Development secretary, Engineer Gloria Magombo, is on record stating the authorities were working tirelessly to contain the supply gap.

The crippling power shortages have seen consumers going for long hours, outside the normal load-shedding periods, without electricity. The situation, caused initially by frequent breakdowns at Hwange Thermal Station, has been compounded by the water shortages in Lake Kariba and the resulting cutback at Kariba South, which provides the bulk of Zimbabwe's electricity supplies.

Source - The Chronicle