MAYENGO NYIRENDA, Chipata
MINISTER of Energy David Mabumba has said Zambia’s energy sector has not developed for a long time due to low tariffs that do not attract private sector investments.
Mr Mabumba said from the time the Kariba Dam was constructed in the 1970s until 2013, the country had not invested much in the energy generation as evidenced by the power challenges that the country forced in the past two years.
Speaking during the energy indaba in Chipata on Friday, Mr Mabumba said this is the reason why people in the country have to support the proposed 75 percent tariff adjustment by ZESCO.
“We have not invested in the energy sector as a country for a long time hence these power outages we have been experiencing in the past two years ,”Mr Mabumba said.
He said having attractive tariffs; many investors will be attracted to the country’s energy sector there by growing the economy of the country.
He said currently most of the energy projects are been funded through debt financing, a situation that has resulted in the country to have accrued debts for energy investments.
Mr Mabumba said government is still commitment to run a pro poor policy and will ensure that the tariff adjustments do not negatively affect the poor people.
And Mr Mabumba said all government infrastructures are electrified in order to foster development in all parts of the country.
Earlier, Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu called on the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to roll out their services in Eastern Province and ensure that all key infrastructures in rural areas are electrified.
Mr Zulu said with the change in the education curriculum which requires schools to have computers it is imperative that all schools are connected to either the national grid or solar power for teachers to effectively conduct their lessons.
He added that Eastern Province been an agro-dependent region hence the need to have reliable energy supply that can attract the private investment for agro processing.
And the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce (EPCCI) Chairperson Thomas Mtonga thanked Government for improving the electricity supply through the upgrading of Pensulo-Msoro to Chipata 330 kilovolts transmission.
Mr Mtonga said the improvement in the electricity installation capacity will go a long way in reducing the cost of doing business in the region.
He further called on the Ministry of Energy to consider putting up fuel storage facilities in the province in order to have a steady supply of fuel.