– Namibia to Import Electricity from Its Neighbour By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namibia will start importing electricity from Zimbabwe by early 2008 following the signing of a multi-million-dollar loan and power purchase agreement between the two countries yesterday. NamPower’s Managing Director, Paulinus Shilamba, yesterday signed a US$40-million (plus-N$280 million) deal with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings Group CEO Ben Rafemoyo and the Zimbabwean Electricity Transmission Company managing director, Edward Rugoyi. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and President Hifikepunye Pohamba witnessed the signing agreement at State House. This agreement forms part of the three deals signed between Namibia and Zimbabwe since the arrival of President Robert Mugabe in Namibia on Tuesday afternoon. Shilamba told a media briefing yesterday that the agreement entails Namibia giving a loan of about N$280 million towards the rehabilitation of four generators at a power plant in Hwange, Zimbabwe. The agreement will allow Namibia to import 150 megawatts for a period of five years from the Hwange plant that has a generation capacity of 480 megawatts. The first 40 megawatts of the 150 megawatts to be received would be supplied to Namibia as soon as the first generator is rehabilitated by January 2008. The money to be given to Zimbabwe, Shilamba revealed, will come from NamPower’s cash reserves, which according to him has about N$2 billion in its chest. This power will be exported from Zimbabwe to Namibia via South Africa. Once the Caprivi link is fully constructed, Namibia will then directly import from Zimbabwe. This line is likely to be commissioned in 2009. These partners in the past had already signed an agreement that allows Namibia to source its power from Zimbabwe especially during off-peak hours. While Eskom, Namibia’s main electricity supplier, has its surplus diminishing, Shilamba says internal power sources such as the Van Eck, Ruacana Hydro and Paratus power stations are there to meet the demand should Eskom fail. The Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, with her Zimbabwean counterpart Samuel Mumbengegwi also signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila in an interview with New Era revealed the agreement serves as a commitment between the two countries. It will ensure that business activities contribute to meaningful economic development and upliftment of the people of Namibia and Zimbabwe. It will also ensure that Namibians conducting business in Zimbabwe do not pay tax in Namibia from their earnings and vice-versa. Where disputes might arise with regard to tax, the agreement further provides for guidance on how to tackle such matters. Foreign Affairs Minister Marco Hausiku and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi of Zimbabwe signed a memorandum of Understanding on diplomatic consultations and related issues. This MoU provides for the two ministries to hold consultations periodically on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the strengthening of bilateral cooperation and issues relating to security and cooperation in the SADC region and on the African continent as a whole. Further, the two countries shall also encourage contact between their diplomatic and consular missions in third world countries to exchange views on matters of mutual interest. This means that the Namibian and Zimbabwean ambassadors in Botswana or the USA can consult each other on issues concerning both Namibia and Zimbabwe.
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