State gets $6 million grant

GOVERNMENT has obtained US$6 million from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBS) to undertake feasibility studies on the Luapula River Basin to pave way for the development of hydro-power projects.
Minister of Energy David Mabumba also says delinking Government from the procurement of petroleum will ensure efficiency and cut down costs Government incurs in the procurement process.
Mr Mabumba said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the grant from DBS will enable Government carry out feasibility studies on four sites that have been identified on the Luapula River Basin.
“There are four potential sites and the consultant should be ready with the report in the first quarter of 2018, and it is anticipated that construction will start at the end of 2018,” he said.
Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has also been conducting feasibility studies on Luapula River to identify sites where hydro-power plants can be built, and last year, the company spent US$4 million to undertake the studies.
Mr Mabumba said Government is also willing to work with CEC and other partners to undertake the project.
“CEC is one of the private firms that were doing feasibility studies and they are free to come on board,” he said.
He said the country needs investments in power generation and transmission to accelerate commerce and industry, and efforts by both Government and the private sector will go a long way in achieving the aspirations.
Meanwhile, Mr Mabumba says Government will build the capacity of the private sector to ensure the smooth flow of petroleum as it delinks itself from the procurement of the commodity.
Government plans to exit from refined fuel procurement by the first quarter of next year.

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