HONE SIAME, Kasama
PRESIDENT Lungu says he will not waste time on fruitless and meaningless politicking by unpatriotic people who are trying to tarnish the country’s image on
some international media platforms.
And President Lungu has launched the first ever oil and gas exploration project being undertaken by Tullow Zambia BV in Luapula and Northern provinces.
He has assured that Government will soon complete the revision of archaic legislation for the petroleum industry to transform Zambia into a major exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
Speaking when he launched the oil project at Kasama Airport yesterday, Mr Lungu said doomsayers claiming that Zambia is unsuitable for investment should give his administration space to deliver development.
“When doomsayers and other unpatriotic elements seek to undermine our motherland by purveying falsehoods about us in some foreign media outlets, our credible response to their lies must be investments such as this,” President Lungu said.
The head of State said the launch of the oil project in Black 31 is a milestone in Government’s efforts to realise its vision of transforming Zambia into a middle-income nation by 2030 in line with the Seventh National Development Plan.
“Let me therefore take this opportunity to publicly assure Tullow and other petroleum exploration companies that my government will complete the revision of legislation for the petroleum industry to create clarity and establish a condusive and fair regulatory environment.
“The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development is also undertaking capacity building programmes to strengthen administration and management of the oil and gas industry to prepare the country for development of this sector,” he said.
President Lungu commended the traditional leadership in Luapula and Northern provinces for supporting Government’s development programmes and urged them to equally support the oil project.
“Listed on the London, Irish and Ghanaian stock exchanges, Tullow Oil built an enviable track record in oil and gas discoveries in Ghana in 2016, and made major discoveries in Uganda and Kenya.
“They have a proven record, appropriate skills and experience to help us realise the value of our natural resources, grow our economy and transform livelihoods,” President Lungu said.
He said oil and gas development can be a game changer for Zambia and any other country and especially fast-industrialising economies.
“It’s the first survey of its kind to be carried out in our country, and we hope this heralds the emergence of a Zambian petroleum industry which will significantly boost our efforts to diversify the economy and create jobs,” he said.
President Lungu called for patience from various stakeholders as Tullow embarks on the historic project.
Tullow Oil executive vice-president Ian Cloke said his firm, under a joint venture between Tullow Zambia and Geo Petroleum Limited, decided to invest in Zambia because of its stable political and investment climate.
“If there is oil to be found in Zambia, Tullow will find it and it will benefit the Zambian people,” Dr Cloke said.
British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet said Tullow Oil is a reputable international firm which will be a reliable partner of the government.
And Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Christopher Yaluma said Government will continue creating a conducive environment for local and foreign investments.
Meanwhile, Tullow Oil has donated US$100,000 to the University of Zambia – School of Geology and has pledged to help the students advance their careers.