By Stanley James
THE country’s power utility, ZESA has been granted approval to bill exporters in foreign currency in a move that is expected to see the parastatal settling its foreign currency obligations.
Under the new regulations contained in the just released Statutory Instrument 131 of 2022, exporting firms are now obliged to pay part of their electricity bills in United States Dollars, Euros and other authorised currencies.
The move is expected to ease challenges faced by the power utility in sourcing foreign currency for its operations.
The Statutory Instrument reveals that proceeds from the forex payments will be used for the procurement of critical equipment and machinery.
The power utility has also been directed by the central bank to have a special foreign currency account, which will be strictly used for the approved purposes.
The latest move is also aimed at ensuring that ZESA sustains foreign loan repayments and foreign insurance transactions.
Exporters in key sectors of the economy such as mining, agriculture and horticulture have continued to generate more foreign currency, with expectations that they can also use part of their hard cash income to settle electricity bills.
The latest regulations are valid for the next six months unless earlier renewed for another period not exceeding six months.
Electricity generation is considered a key input for the exporting industries in terms of facilitating production processes.
ZESA needs over US$17 million to import power on a monthly basis.