The Kariba Dam rehabilitation project remains a complex and essential project with the objective of improving safety and increasing its lifespan, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has said.
In a joint communiqué after the 38th meeting held virtually last week, ZRA said delays in various contracting works had been compounded by technical challenges and constraints brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic. ZRA council of ministers comprises Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda and their Zambian counterparts — Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu and Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa.
They were meeting to receive progress reports on the preparatory activities for the implementation of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme, the ongoing Kariba Dam rehabilitation project and to approve the 2021 ZRA budget, among other issues.
The ministers noted that the authority had continued to carry out various planned projects under the Zambezi Valley Development Fund. “This is being done as part of an ongoing effort to improve the well-being of the communities that were displaced during the construction of the Kariba Dam.
“Various projects have been implemented in the areas of irrigation, water supply, health facilities and education which included housing for teaching staff and health workers,” reads the communiqué.
The ZRA council of ministers also noted the significant progress made at Batoka Gorge Hydro-electric Scheme.
“The public disclosure process for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study was completed and the updating of study has commenced whereby a revised report will be submitted to Zambia Environmental Management Agency and Environmental Management Agency (Zimbabwe) by mid-March 2021.” They approved ZRA’s 2021 annual budget of US$71,2 million.
“The budget shall be finalised through a combination of internally generated funds and amortised loans and grants sourced from cooperating partners of the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Union and the Swedish International Development Agency.”
Outgoing ZRA chairman Minister Soda handed over the rotational chairmanship to incoming chair and Zambian Energy Minister, Mathew Nkhuwa.