Power blackouts shatter Bulawayo firms

Power blackouts shatter Bulawayo firms
Published: 11 July 2019
POWER outages are wrecking Bulawayo's businesses, amid fears that the debilitating electricity cuts may force the closure of some firms, captains of commerce and industry have warned.

This comes as Zimbabwe is experiencing worsening power deficits on the back of the country's escalating economic rot, and the attendant acute shortage of foreign currency needed to import electricity from neighbouring countries.

Bulawayo, the former industrial hub of the nation, is currently having to contend with power cuts of up to 18 hours a day - although the industrial areas have fared better.

Local industrialists told the Daily News yesterday that business had lost millions of dollars due to the power blackouts - further setting back the region's manufacturing industry.

The chief executive officer of the Association of Business in Zimbabwe, Victor Nyoni, described the situation obtaining in Bulawayo as a "total disaster".

"I think it's almost a total disaster and every one can see this. Companies now have to cut down on working hours because of fewer hours that machines have to be turned on.

"The costs of using a generator or relying on other sources of power are prohibitive as these are higher. Remember too that some machines may also not be compatible with various sources of power.

"Many companies have now been forced to reduce working hours, which obviously affects the salaries of staff, which leads to low morale among employees," Nyoni said.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) vice president for the Matabeleland region, Golden Muoni, also told the Daily News that the situation needed urgent attention.

"The situation is terrible. Production-wise, we are having a terrible time. Imagine in the midst of production power goes off ... it leads to losses in the production chain.

"Many have been forced to resort to generators which are very costly considering the price of fuel. So, generally, the production sector has been grossly affected," he said.

He also warned that if nothing was done to improve the situation within the next two months, this would lead to price hikes owing to rising production costs.
- dailynews
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