ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA-ANGOLA Oil Pipeline promoters Basali Ba Liseli Resources (BBLR) has refuted media reports suggesting that President Lungu has struck a government-to-government oil investment deal with Angola using a private company called Gulf Pacific to represent Zambiaâ€™s interests.
Reacting to a story headlined â€˜Lungu, Santos strike oil dealâ€™ published in yesterdayâ€™s edition of The Post newspaper, BBLR executive chairman Wakumelo Kalabo dismissed claims that President Lungu is involved in the business of constructing an oil pipeline from Lobito to Zambia.
Mr Kalabo told a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the story is not true because President Lungu is not in any way involved in the business of constructing an oil pipeline.
â€œThe Zambia Angola Oil Pipeline promoters Basali Ba Liseli Resources would like to refute any imputation that the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu or indeed his government were involved in that business of the constructing an oil pipeline,â€ he said.
Mr Kalabo said the President and the Zambian government understand that this is purely a private sector initiative but one that requires the support of the governments of the two countries.
He said the support from Government is because of the strategic nature of the industry and the public interest it holds.
Mr Kalabo said no business project of this nature and magnitude involving two sovereign states can proceed without the blessing and explicit support of the two governments.
He said the Zambia-Angola Pipeline and Gulf Pacific are two different companies pursuing different projects in Zambia.
Mr Wakumelo said he travelled to Angola to meet President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and that the Gulf Pacific representatives were not part of the delegation, as misreported in The Post.
He said after Cabinet approval to support the privately-led Zambia-Angola Oil Pipeline initiative on June 29 this year, President Lungu appointed a special envoy to deliver a special message to his Angolan counterpart in support of the pipeline, which is common practice even in other countries.
He said since the government of Angola is constructing an oil refinery in Lobito. It has invited a number of Governments in the region, including Zambia to acquire shares in the refinery.
Mr Wakumelo said that even though Government has expressed interest, it has at the same time encouraged the private sector to participate.
He said that the process of securing Government support started in 2009 and Government only approved in 2015 showing how meticulous government was in approaching this matter.
He said the over US$5 billion pipeline will deliver 100,000 barrels of refined petroleum products per day into Zambia.
ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka