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Govt working on ways to fund rural electrification

by Staff reporter
16 Jul 2018 at 07:11hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has said it is working on finding alternative ways of mobilising additional resources for the Rural Electrification programme to augment the Rural Electrification Fund (REF).

Power and Energy Development Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo said the programme is important as it brings development to rural areas in order to improve the quality of life.

Speaking during the Commissioning of Sigangatsha Electrification Project in Matobo district last Friday, Minister Moyo said the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) was faced by inadequate funding as the six percent electrification levy is not sufficient. "My Ministry will continue to explore ways of supporting the REF to enable it to carry out its mandate of facilitating rapid and equitable provision of energy to rural areas.

"It is encouraging indeed to note that the Rural Electrification Fund is looking at other alternative ways of mobilising additional resources for the programme in order to augment the levy and fiscal allocation," said Minister Khaya Moyo.

He said the Rural Electrification Programme has the potential to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

"Many schools are now electrified and connected to internet services. Teachers who used to shun working in the rural areas before their schools were electrified are now happier to work in rural areas. Similarly at rural health centres, electricity has brought positive changes. The child mortality rate has been reduced and expecting mothers who were asked to bring own lighting such as candles and paraffin lamps to clinics in the past are now giving birth in well-lit and conducive environments," he said.

The Minister urged beneficiaries of the programme to take advantage of the infrastructure and raise educational and health standards.

Minister Khaya Moyo urged communities to safeguard the infrastructure against vandalism.

"Ladies and gentleman, it is however disturbing to note the rampant increase in cases of theft and vandalism on the electricity grid infrastructure in particular conductors and transformers. I would like to urge the community to ensure that the grid infrastructure is not vandalised," said the Minister.

He said to date, the Fund has electrified 9 159 rural institutions countrywide with both grid and solar technologies.

In Matobo District it has electrified 116 institutions and these include 54 primary schools out of 83, 27 secondary schools out 28, 20 rural centres out of 20, four chiefs' homesteads out of six, four Government extension offices and seven other entities.

REA board chairman Mr William Chiwewe said the Sigangatsha Electrification Project has a total line length of 18,32 kilometres and was done at a cost of $242 300. He said the project will directly benefit two primary schools, one secondary school, one clinic and three Government offices.

Mr Chiwewe said since January, the Fund had completed grid projects covering 126 institutions countrywide and five biogas digesters in Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central provinces.

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Source - chronicle