Erratic power supply paralyzes Starafrica Corporation

The Chronicle

business journalist

LISTED sugar producer, Starafrica Corporation Limited (SACL) has installed a dedicated 11 kV power supply line and purchased a 1,000 kVA generator to augment the power supply to its refinery.

In a business update for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, the Company reported that during the reporting period, granulated white sugar production volume at Goldstar Sugars was 14% lower than that achieved during the comparative period of the previous year.

The drop in production is attributed to an erratic power supply, hence the installation of a dedicated power line.

“For the first quarter of fiscal year 2022/23, granulated white sugar production volumes at Goldstar Sugars were 14% lower than those achieved in the prior year comparative period,” the company said.

“Electricity and steam supply constraints were the main causes of reduced refinery throughput, as they negatively impacted plant availability. Consequently, the reduction in production resulted in a 3% drop in sales volume compared to the previous year.

“The company has since installed a dedicated 11 kV power supply line, purchased a 1,000 kVA generator and power cables to augment the power supply. A program to overhaul two of the five boilers is nearing completion. These initiatives should result in a significant improvement in production,” the company said.

In line with Vision 2030, the government has mandated independent power producers to provide nearly 40% of the targeted 11,500 MW the country needs to achieve upper-middle-income economy status where electricity, among other services, should be easily accessible. available and accessible to all citizens.

Since 2010, the regulator has licensed over 70 IPPs to establish power generation plants across the country, with an estimated combined output of over 6,000 MW.

However, a few small projects are operational and produce little at a time. The country has a serious electricity deficit.

Several energy-intensive companies, particularly in the mining sector, are installing solar power plants to ensure a steady supply of energy and increase production levels.

The production and sales volumes of Country Choice Foods, a unit of Starafrica, have reportedly improved significantly with the commissioning of an automatic syrup filling machine, a more competitive pricing strategy and the introduction of new product lines, namely baking powder, raisins and cocoa powder.

This led to notable increases in sales and production volumes of 81% and 68%, respectively, compared to the comparative period of the previous year, the company added.

Acknowledging currency volatility, which has led to higher operational costs for the company and reduced consumer spending in the market, SACL said the corporate sector applauds the authorities’ efforts to bring inflation under control and stabilize the local currency.

The government recently introduced a series of tight monetary policy measures and its focus on fiscal sustainability, if maintained, should lead to lower inflation levels, the SACL said.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has raised the bank lending rate to 200% per annum to curb speculative borrowing, among a series of measures aimed at containing inflation and parallel foreign exchange market activity.

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