President challenges water experts on energy deficit

PRESIDENT Lungu has directed experts in the water sector to find solutions for Zambia’s energy deficit and food insecurity.
And Minister of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya has urged the private sector to invest in renewable energy to help mitigate the power deficit that the country is facing.
President Lungu said water is key to addressing the challenges such as the electricity deficit and food insecurity, which require proper planning, development and management of Zambia’s water resources.
The President said this in Lusaka yesterday in a speech read for him by Minister of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo during the Fifth Zambia Water Forum and Exhibition (ZAWAFE) under the theme: ‘The Critical Role of Water in Sustainable Development’.
“The fifth ZAWAFE has been organised at an opportune time, when Zambia is going through a difficult phase due to the ongoing electricity load shedding that has negatively impacted on people’s lives and national economy.
“This situation has arisen due to poor rainfall recorded during the 2014/2015 season resulting in low water levels in rivers and other water bodies. This situation requires innovation and concerted efforts to re-evaluate the understanding that Zambia has abundant water resources. I, therefore, challenge you to find solutions to our energy deficit and food insecurity that the country is facing,” President Lungu said.
He said the unprecedented increase in urban population coupled by the desire to grow the economy has resulted in increased demand for water.
President Lungu said his administration has, therefore, prioritised the provision of clean and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services with a target of achieving universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“To this effect, my Government has put in place the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (2011 to 2030) and the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (2007 to 2015) as agreed frameworks for water and sanitation provision.
Earlier, Southern African Development Community (SADC) representative Kenneth Msibi called on member states to implement the new legal framework for water to ensure sustainable and sound water resources management in terms of ensuring adequate availability, management and protection of lakes, wetlands and groundwater resources.
And ZAWAFE chairperson Imasiku Nyambe called for increased investment into the development of water infrastructure to help prevent the further shortage of water in the country and the region as a whole.
Meanwhile, STEVEN MVULA and NANCY SIAME report that Ms Siliya said the private sector can make a difference by investing in renewable energy.
“The energy crisis is very real and small businesses such as barbershops and bakeries are losing money. This is a national crisis and not a Government problem alone,” Ms Siliya said.
The minister said this in Lusaka yesterday during a stakeholders meeting on renewable energy.  The event was organised by the Ministry of Energy and Water Development in partnership with Tomorrow Investments.
Ms Siliya said Government does not want the private sector to go out of business because it is losing revenue through non-remittance of taxes.
Ms Siliya said she is ready to review legislation to encourage investment in renewable energy.
Ms Siliya called on financial institutions to make available the necessary finances required for investment in the energy sector.

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