Zimbabwe pays interest on $355mln Chinese loan for Kariba power expansion, project on schedule

Zimbabwe pays interest on $355mln Chinese loan for Kariba power expansion, project on schedule

By Kuda Chideme, HARARE, August 19 (The Source) – Zimbabwe has made several interest payments to the China Exim Bank for a $355 million loan extended to the southern African nation to finance expansion of its Kariba South Power Station, an official has said.

The project, which is being undertaken by Chinese firm Sino Hydro is expected to add 300 megawatts to the current 750 MW, with commissioning set for the first quarter of 2018.

Sino Hydro was awarded the contract in 2013 although the agreement for the loan was signed in 2012.

Energy Secretary Pattison Mbiriri told The Source on Wednesday that two interest payments of close to $2 million had been made with the next payment due in September.

“We are already paying interest during construction for Kariba 7 and 8. The first interest payment of $575 686,20 was made on 19 January and the second one of $1,164,577.65 was made on 8 July,” Mbiriri said.

He said the next payment is estimated to be in region of $1,6 million.

Work on the project is on schedule with tunnel drilling to power houses under way, he added.

Zimbabwe’s generation capacity recently improved marginally by 100MW to 1,300MW after reconditioning works on the country’s ageing thermal power plants in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.

However, with a daily demand of 2,200MW the country still faces acute power shortages.