HARARE – One of Zimbabwe’s biggest business lobbies said on Monday it will be launching an energy sector survey to give business and government insight into the impact of ongoing power and fuel shortages in the southern African country.

“The chamber conducts a State of the Economy Survey in an effort to stimulate evidence-based dialogue on the status of the Zimbabwean economy,” ZNCC said in a statement.

“This year’s state of the economy will focus on the Impact of Energy Challenges in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce has a mandate to equip business with development opportunities. This it does to economically empower and resuscitate corporate and industrial Zimbabwe,” the chamber noted.

It was the idea was to stimulate dialogue around the energy sector, as the country tries to find a solution to a serious crisis.

Zimbabwe’s Energy minister, Fortune Chasi said in October government was ceased with finding solutions to the energy crisis.

On the power front, the drought that has affected Zimbabwe this year has meant that the Kariba Hydroelectric Power plant, which has been upgraded at a cost of US$553 million, cannot generate enough power.

This has left the Thermal power plant at Hwange to produce electricity industries and domestic consumers.

But the plant has been affected by intermittent breakdowns. However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year commissioned the US$1,5 billion upgrade of the power plant, which is progressing.

“To address these bottlenecks, were have entered into arrangement with power plants with our friendly neighbours, South Africa and Mozambique, to import electricity while we work towards a lasting solution,” said Chasi.

“We are addressing the problems that are being faced by Hwange Colliery Company Limited, in order to increase coal production, which is an important source of energy for industries. We urge both domestic and industrial consumers to play their part, especially with paying for their energy to ZESA. As we speak, ZESA is owed $1,2 billion by customers, and if consumers play their part, the problems that the utility faces can be addressed because it will have the cashflows to purchase its critical requirements,” he said.

“We have licenced several private players to invest in power, and a significant number of the approved projects will be undertaking investment into renewable energy. This is an important milestone in that once they start feeding into the national grid, this new throughput will complement ZESA, and increase power supplies to the markets,” noted Chasi.