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Mnangagwa commissions US$7.3m plant

by Staff reporter
09 Nov 2023 at 05:53hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned a US$7,3 million National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) ethanol storage and handling facility, that will help save foreign currency, create employment and provide wealth generation opportunities in the biofuel value chain.

The facility, which has piqued the interest of neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, is testimony to the Second Republic inward-looking policy that has seen home-grown solutions responding to the country's needs.

In the energy sector, this is vital as there is a need to match demand, which has surged in the past five years, with supply.

Thus the facility that the President commissioned in Harare, is a major boost to Zimbabwe's infrastructure development drive and will increase ethanol handling capacity by over 100 percent.

With the plant complete, Zimbabwe's national storage and handling capacity which previously stood at 5,2 million litres, is now at 11,2 million litres.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa revealed that because of the country's infrastructure development particularly in the energy sector, South Africa and Botswana had expressed eagerness for Zimbabwe to facilitate their fuel supply.

"In fact, I must mention that the other day when I was with President Ramaphosa and President Masisi of Botswana, they were eager that we facilitate the supply of fuel to Botswana through our infrastructure and extend it to Botswana.

"President Ramaphosa feels that if we extend this to Botswana, he would want another pipeline to branch from Gweru to supply northern South Africa," he said.

The President said such facilities were not only lessening the country's import bill and preserving foreign currency, but also consolidating Zimbabwe's prevailing fuel availability.

Zimbabwe's current economic growth trajectory has seen fuel demand surging to over 3 million and 4 million litres of petrol and diesel per day, respectively.

The Second Republic, the President said, will continue ensuring a conducive environment that will guarantee the biofuels sector of uninterrupted supplies of feedstock for the blending of petrol.

"As a result, our national storage and handling capacity of ethanol is set to increase by over 100 percent from 5,2 million litres to about 11,2 million litres. These are spread across the country at Msasa, Feruka and Bulawayo depots.

"Over and above driving our import substitution policy, preserving foreign currency, creating employment, empowerment and wealth generation opportunities across the biofuel value chain, such a facility consolidates the prevailing fuel availability and stability of the liquid fuel subsector.

"This is in keeping with the positive economic growth and fuel demand which now stands at over 3 million and 4 million litres of petrol and diesel per day, respectively.

"Meanwhile, the synergies and partnerships by both local and international players that have culminated in the construction of these strategic national handling facilities are equally applauded," he said.

"On its part, my Government will continue to foster an enabling environment that ensures that the biofuel sector is able to sustainably supply feedstock for the blending of petrol with ethanol. As the production of ethanol increases, the establishment of additional storage facilities in different parts of the country will also be considered."

Infrastructure development projects, said President Mnangagwa, are a vital cog in the realisation of Zimbabwe's quest to be an "effective and efficient land-linked regional hub for fuel distribution in Southern Africa."

The Head of State and Government also outlined the ongoing joint capacity upgrade of the Feruka Pipeline by NOIC and Mozambique's Companhia do Pipeine Mozambique-Zimbabwe Limitada (CPMZ).

"To this end, the Mabvuku Depot has now been dedicated to the redelivery of fuel to surrounding markets, resulting in increased efficiency. Consequently, players in the fuel transport sector servicing the regional countries have largely been loaded out at this key installation.

"This has enabled the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe to achieve a record volume through-put of fuel pumping on the pipeline of 1,93 billion litres in 2022.

"Riding on the long standing, mutually and beneficial relationship between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the National Oil Infrastructure Company and Companhia do Pipeline Mozambique-Zimbabwe Limitada (CPMZ) are synchronising the capacity upgrade of the Feruka Pipeline, for seamless operations and improved efficiencies.

"The ongoing pipeline upgrade will culminate in an increased capacity of 3 billion litres, up from the current 2,19 billion litres of liquid fuel per annum. This will be further ramped up to 5 billion litres per annum in 2025," said the Head of State.

President Mnangagwa said that such facilities were in sync with the country's energy policies as well as the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The country's devolution and decentralisation policies were also coming to fruition because of these, he said.

"This facility is a strategic response towards accelerating the implementation of our national policy on ethanol blending and the use of cleaner fuels.

"It further dovetails with Sustainable Development Goal 7 towards providing affordable and clean energy.

"Over and above this, and in line with our Devolution and Decentralisation Policy, the National Oil Infrastructure Company has acquired a depot in Bulawayo to facilitate the bulk dispensing of fuel to clients in the Southern Region," he said.

The President urged the energy sector to remain united for the good of Zimbabwe as the energy, power and biofuel subsectors were critical enablers of the country's sustained socio-economic growth.

"The culture of working with dedication as a united team that observes best practices in your sector, must be nurtured. More so that the energy, power and bio-fuel sub-sectors are critical enablers in driving sustainable development and prosperity in our socio-economic development and prosperity in our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe. This role must never be taken lightly," he said.

President Mnangagwa commended NOIC for not only complementing his administration's efforts but also carrying out various corporate social responsibility projects including the refurbishment of classroom blocks and donation of stationery across the country.

This, he said, was in tandem with the country's "nyika inovakwa, inotongwa, inonamatigwa nevene vayo/ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswe, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo" philosophy.

"I am equally pleased that the company is also running a Scholarship Programme. Under this initiative, undergraduate scholarships are being offered to disadvantaged students at all state universities within the country. This is commendable," said the President.

Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo said NOIC continued to play a pivotal role in ensuring that Zimbabwe has adequate fuel supplies.

NOIC's acting chairman Air Vice Marshall (Rtd) Innocent Chiganze revealed that the construction of the facilities had wholly been funded by NOIC without any credit or other financial assistance.

Source - The Herald
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