The Zambezi River Authority Council of Ministers has approved a supplementary budget for the authority worth close US$500 000 for the second half of the year.
The authority manages the Zambezi River water on behalf of the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments.
This was revealed in a communique issued after the council of minister held a meeting to review progress on the implementation of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme Project as well as to formally adopt the Zambezi River Authority’s corporate strategy for 2020-24 and to consider and approve a supplementary budget for the authority.
“The council of ministers considered and approved a supplementary budget for the period July to December 2020 for Zambezi River Authority in the amount of US$403,944 in respect of employment and electricity costs for the period July to December 2020.
“The council of Ministers remains committed to the bilateral cooperation and ensuring the sustainability and ensuring the sustainability of the authority’s operations,” the communique said.
The Batoka Gorge project contract was awarded to the Consortium of Power Construction Corporation of China and General Electric.
Engagement between the consortium, the authority and the power utilities had progressed well notwithstanding the disruptions that were caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, the council noted.
It was reported that there had been no objections from the environmental regulatory agencies of Zimbabwe and Zambia to hold the public disclosure meetings through virtual means complimented by limited physical meetings which would be held in line with public health guidelines and would lead to the conclusion of the environmental and social assessment impact studies.
The council noted progression of additional studies consisting of geotechnical investigations, poor evacuation, market studies, systems integration studies, topographical surveys, bathymetric surveys, and the feasibility studies for the transmission structure leading to commencement of project construction.
The evaluation of submitted financial model, risk register, final demand analysis and economic analysis reports to the authority leading to the refinement of project agreements to be entered into with the developer for the development of the scheme has also been completed.
The change of land use for the Batoka project form communal to urban was approved by the government of Zimbabwe in August this year and the granting of the title for the land on the north bank, on the Zambian side, is in its final stages.