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Rural electrification the key to improving living: Minister

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Michael Magoronga, Correspondent in the Midlands
The government is committed to continually striving to increase energy production and to ensure that more rural communities are connected to electricity to improve livelihoods.

According to the National Energy Policy (NEP), the Government has undertaken to ensure that all people in the country have access to adequate, reliable, lower cost and environmentally friendly services and sustainable energy.

In March, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the National Renewable Energy Policy, which outlines action plans for the development of renewable and clean energy solutions for space heating and cooking lighting.

This year alone, the Government, through the Treasury, made a $ 70 million fiscal allocation to increase the rural electrification tax in support of the Rural Electrification Program. in

On Thursday, the Minister of Energy and Energy Development, Zhemu Soda, officially commissioned the electrification project of the Donsa schools, clinic and business center in Kwekwe District.

In his speech, he reiterated the commitment of Governments to ensure that every Zimbabwean has access to energy by 2030.

The government has always recognized the importance of energy in general and electricity in particular as a tool for the economic and social development of our country. Over the years, the Government has constantly tried to create a potential environment for the development of the network in both rural and urban areas, said Minister Soda.

He expressed satisfaction that despite the economic challenges facing the country, the fund has continued to make significant progress in electrifying rural areas of Zimbabwe. As of September 30, the fund had electrified 9,507 rural institutions across the country using both solar networks and technologies. In Midlands Province alone, the Road Electrification Agency (REA) has electrified 1,004 institutions, which include secondary and primary schools, household heads, government expansion offices, business centers, small-scale farms, and rural health facilities among others.

Minister Soda, however, condemned the vandalism and rampant cases of infrastructure theft.

However, it is worrying to note the rampant increase in cases of theft and vandalism in the electrical network infrastructure, in particular of conductors and transformers. I would like to urge the community to ensure that the network infrastructure is not vandalized, he said.

Speaking in the same capacity, REA board member Engineer Flora Chikonye said the Donsa rural electrification program was funded with $ 290,000 and was linked to three schools and a business center.

The grid could also house about 1,000 households as the Agency moves to make sure rural communities receive electricity as a household, she said.

Midlands Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Larry Mavima said electricity was an opportunity for economic and social development.

Once energy is provided, it can be used in schools, rural health centers and individual homes to enhance lifestyles and improve health and education for rural Zimbabwe. Irrigation, agro-processing and villa industry projects can also be successfully implemented for the benefit of rural communities and the country in general, said Minister Mavima.

With Covid-19 doing harm to economic and other social activities, power is considered key in the country as most businesses and learning have become virtual.

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