KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has granted Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) plc exclusive rights to ensure successful development of the US$220 million Kabompo hydro-power project.
CEC was given concessional rights in 2008 to undertake feasibility studies to develop the 40 megawatts (MW) power station but the project could not fully take off because certain actions and rights, including land lease were delayed to be granted to the developers.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of the implementation agreement for the Kabompo project between CEC and Government, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Brigadier General Emelda Chola said CEC should be commended for spending over US$32 million on early work on the project including construction of the diversion tunnel.
The implementation agreement will enable developers to complete the remaining pre-implementation activities including mobilisation of financial resources for the construction of the project.
Gen Chola said following the signing of the implementation agreement, the ministry will closely monitor the implementation of the project to ensure timely commissioning.
â€œI believe we are not only witnessing the signature of an agreement that provides direct contractual obligations and undertakings on the part of both the government and the project developers, but we are also celebrating tireless commitment and patience.
â€œI would like to focus on the next steps, which will enable the expeditious implementation of the project. My ministry will, therefore, support implementation of the project by CEC through its subsidiary CEC-Kabompo Gorge Hydropower Limited,â€ she said.
Earlier, CEC Plc chairperson Hanson Sindowe said the company has made no secret of its deep desire to be fully involved in finding solutions to the countryâ€™s energy challenges.
â€œThe point I am making is two-fold. Firstly, to demonstrate that CEC has always desired to be considered a true partner in developing not only in the energy industry but also the countryâ€™s economy. The company has always looked inside to try and contribute to the sector but we have been less successful than we would have liked, not because of failure on our part, but on account of not being given the opportunities that we see and are keen to exploit.
â€œThe second part is that Government should act more speedily when it comes to developing solutions of this nature and working with private sector players, who readily demonstrate willingness by being proactive and finding the opportunities rather than only waiting to be called in,â€ Mr Sindowe said.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka