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Power shortages to hike production costs – ZAM

THE Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) says the anticipated power shortage due to the low water level will increase the cost of production in the manufacturing sector.
However, Zesco Limited says it will mitigate the effects of looming power shortage on consumers.
ZAM executive director Maybin Nsupila said in an interview yesterday that there is need to start exploring other sources of generating electricity to complement hydro-electric power.
Mr Nsupila said power outages slow down production and cost of production becomes high due to losses that are incurred when there is a power interruption during production.
“Any power shortage affects production, in such situations you do not expect to produce to full capacity. There are certain processes of production that require no interruptions from start to finish. If there happens to be a power cut, it means raw materials will be wasted.
“We foresee a situation where the cost of production, and there will be low productivity…Despite that [low productivity], manufacturers will still have to meet all costs such as salaries and raw materials,” Mr Nsupila said.
Recently, Zambezi River Authority announced a 10 percent reduction of water supply for power generation owing to low water levels in the Kariba Dam following inadequate rainfall received in the Zambezi basin during the 2014/2015 rainy season.
Meanwhile, Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata said in a separate interview that the company will try by “all means” to ensure production is not adversely affected.
Mr Kapata said Zesco is alive to the fact that the manufacturing sector is a key component to economic development; hence the need to ensure there is power supply during hours of production.
He, however, called on both domestic and commercial consumers to exercise ‘self-load shedding’ to help conserve power.
“For us, there is nothing we can do apart from sensitising all consumers to ‘Switch and Save’. We sympathise with our friends in the manufacturing sector but, we will try by all means that they are not adversely affected, we will endeavour not to load shed unnecessarily,” he said.