By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Council of Ministers has approved a US$400 000 supplementary budget for the 2020 fiscal year, with the bulk of the expenditure allocated to the employment and electricity costs.
According to the ZRA’S 39th communiqué released on Thursday, the ZRA Council of Ministers (COM), who sat and deliberated on various issues for implementation ahead of the Batoka Hydro Energy Scheme, reported that the supplementary budget was for the period July to December.
The supplementary budget is an addition to US$81 million 2020 budget the bulk of which was allocated to the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam.
The COM also formally adopted the corporate strategy for ZRA which will guide the authority’s strategic direction for the period 2020-2024 with hopes that it will facilitate significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the two countries.
On the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme, COM noted progress had been made with various milestones achieved so far despite disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, due to restrictions arising from the need to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, no objections from the Environmental Regulatory Agencies of Zambia and Zimbabwe to hold the Public Disclosure meetings through virtual means, complimented by limited physical meetings which would be held in line with public health guidelines would lead to the Conclusion of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies.”
The government since allocated land for the establishment of the Batoka Township.
The project once complete is expected to provide 2 400MW of electricity generated from the Zambezi River basin extending to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development and the project chairperson Minister Soda Zhemu, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube were among the signatories of the communiqué together with their Zambian counterparts.