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Fortune Chasi fires entire Zesa board

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Fortune Chasi

Fortune Chasi, yesterday fired the entire ZESA board for failing to “appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in”.

The country is battling acute electricity shortages, and Minister Chasi said the board was not doing much to address the power challenges.

In an interview with The Herald Zimbabwe last night, Minister Fortune Chasi said he would replace the board with people who do not wait for monthly or quarterly meetings to address the power challenges confronting the nation.

“I have fired the Zesa board,” said Minister Fortune Chasi.

Asked why he had sacked the board which was only appointed on March 19 this year, Minister Fortune Chasi said: “I want people who appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in. I did not see that in them.

“The challenges at Zesa are deep-seated and they need people who are hands-on, who will not wait for a quarterly meeting or monthly meeting or things like that. So I will be looking around for men and women of integrity who have the experience, who are proven, not academic persons.”

Minister Chasi said he would not rush to appoint a new board, as long as he will get the right people for the task.

“(It will take) as long as it is necessary. We will get the right people; people who will give the nation and the market the right signals that we are serious about turning around Zesa. So those are the women and men that I will be looking for,” he said.

The fired seven-member Zesa board was appointed on March 19 and will probably go down as the shortest serving board.

Upon appointment by former Energy Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, the board was immediately directed to superintend over the rebundling of the power utility, fighting corruption and ensuring steady power supply for the nation.

However, the power supply situation has deteriorated largely due to water shortages in the Kariba dam, resulting in load-shedding across the country for up to 12 hours in some areas.

Former Cottco managing director, Mr Collins Chihuri, was the board chairman.

Other members included; deputy chairman Engineer Benson Munyaradzi, a Ministry of Energy official who represented the ministry’s interests on the board.

Ms Jacqueline Sande, Trust Chifamba, Mr Hussein Omar, Mrs Cathrine Befura and Mr Thomas Timire were the other board members.
Last night, Mr Chihuri was not reachable for comment.

But in his acceptance remarks on the day of his appointment, Mr Chihuri said; “It is with great humility that I accept the appointment as chairman of the Zesa board. As the minister has just said, there are several challenges but with good effort, I am sure the challenges are not insurmountable. I look forward to the support of my colleagues and management.”The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

African leaders boycott WEF Africa over xenophobic attacks in SA

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World Economic Forum on Africa

The presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi have decided not to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted by South Africa in the face of ongoing looting and burning of small businesses in that country, owned largely by African immigrants, local media reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the attacks, which have seen scores of people arrested in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Reports said Zambia had also cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa’s national men’s team Bafana Bafana scheduled for March.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari instructed his foreign affairs minister to summon South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria over the violence.

Some South Africans say they are retaliating against crime committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners, but political analysts say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over joblessness and general economic woes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union Commission’s Faki called for “immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice is done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”

“The chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity,” his spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. African News Agency

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Econet goes into forex exchange. Launches bureau de change

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Ecocash Zimbabwe

ECOCASH has launched a digital mobile phone-based bureau de change in a move set to increase competition in the foreign currency exchange business.

The innovative facility, a first by a mobile money service provider, will likely revolutionise the business by providing the much-needed convenience to the platform’s 10 million registered customers.

According to the company, the new service will allow EcoCash customers to sell foreign currency in real-time and instantly have the local currency converted and credited to their wallets.

The move follows the granting of an operating licence to EcoCash by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has an effect of increasing access to specialised digital financial services to millions of Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the launch of the service in Harare yesterday, EcoCash chief executive officer, Ms Natalie Jabangwe, explained how the service would work.

“Before performing a currency conversion transaction, one needs to fund their EcoCash wallet,” she said, adding that a wallet could be funded in a number of ways.

“You fund your wallet by doing a cash-in of physical US dollars (or forex) into the wallet. Or you fund your wallet over the counter, at any Econet Shop. You can also fund your wallet through a direct in-wallet receipt of remittances from the diaspora into your EcoCash wallet. This could be through existing EcoCash remittance partners, which include Cassava Remit, World Remit, Mukuru, Western Union, Money Gram, Orange Botswana and MTN.”
Ms Jabangwe said an EcoCash customer could also fund their wallet via a Nostro bank-to-wallet transfer on their phone, from their respective FCA bank account linked to the EcoCash FCA wallet. She said once the wallet was funded, a customer could then proceed to dial a dedicated EcoCash Bureau de Change menu on the access code *150# to carry out their transaction.

“Customers will be able to check the rate of the day, get a quote for the amount to be sold and receive instant ‘confirmation of sale’ of foreign currency and the ZW$ conversation amount – all this happening via their mobile phone,” Ms Jabangwe said.

Cassava Smartech CEO, Mr Eddie Chibi, the parent company of EcoCash, said: “We are excited to be the first and only mobile financial service provider in Africa to offer this innovative service to our customers, empowering them with a simple, convenient, fast and real-time Bureau de Change service that they can access and use to transact anywhere, anytime.”

He said the service will help customers access competitive exchange rates quickly, convert or change their money in real-time, and transact on a secure platform that they have come to trust.

Ms Jabangwe said EcoCash Zimbabwe continued to leverage on the dynamic innovation capabilities that technology gives by building new products and services that go beyond the early services of financial inclusion.

“The advantage of having a scaled transaction platform is that you can build new services in line with a changing market environment. Accessibility of these services on the mobile phone enables us to travel the journey with our customers towards more complex but necessary financial services in the future,” she said. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Eskom Begins 400MW Power Supply to Zimbabwe

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Fortune Chasi

ZESA Holdings has reportedly started receiving 400 Megawatts of electricity from South Africa power utility, ESKOM.

This comes after the latter accepted Zimbabwe’s payment plan which involves payment of US$890,000 per week to settle its long-standing debt with ESKOM.

Zimbabwe is currently generating about 692 megawatts against a daily peak demand of about 1 600MW to 2000MW in winter.
All sectors were projecting fewer revenues this year as a result of the crippling load-shedding which ZESA had implemented due to the power deficit in the country.

Some companies were contemplating closing some of their branches with OK Zimbabwe, one of the biggest retailers in the country, having already closed one of its shops in Rusape.

The main power generator in the country, Kariba South Hydropower plant, has reportedly been immensely affected by the shrinking water levels at the dam whilst Hwange thermal power is underperforming due to ageing equipment.

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