ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka
THE committee on Estimates says Government’s bold decision to implement cost reflect electricity tariffs will have immense economic benefits on the business community and members of the public.
Committee chairperson Mwalimu Simfukwe told Parliament last week that Government should also expedite the review of the operations of Zesco Limited to address its operational inefficiencies.
Mr Simfukwe, who is Mbala member of Parliament (MP), said the upward adjustment of electricity tariffs will attract investments in the energy sector that will boost the country’s power generation capacity.
He said while the move has affected the poor, it will have long term benefits.
“The removal of tariffs may lead to higher cost of production translating into an increase in the cost of goods and services,” he said.
Mr Simfukwe said Government should put in place measures to protect the poor and vulnerable against high electricity bills such as maintaining a lifeline tariff.
He also said load shedding continues to be a great challenge due to low water levels caused by poor rainfall.
Mr Simfukwe said Government should enhance the countrywide campaign to educate people on energy efficient measures of using electricity such as replacing inefficient lighting bulbs with efficient ones.
He also told Parliament that enhancing the role of councils will need close co-ordination between Government and local authorities in the budgeting process.
Mr Simfukwe said the committee on estimates is concerned with the slow pace at which the process of fiscal decentralisation is moving.
He said Government should expedite implementation of decentralisation in line with the amended Constitution.
Mr Simfukwe said his committee is aware that Cabinet has not approved the revised intergovernmental fiscal architecture which should guide the country’s fiscal decentralisation.