Stanbic pumps $570 million in energy sector

IN AN effort to help Zambia tackle the energy crisis, Stanbic Bank has invested over US$570 million in the development of the sector in the last two years.
This reflects a big share of the institution’s loan portfolio which has been channelled to the energy sector as it is a key driver in sustaining economic growth.
Stanbic manager for investment banking Mwila Mwenya pledged support in providing financial advice to organisations intending to embark on big energy projects in sectors such as mining.
“The bank has been acknowledged for funding in excess of US$3 billion worth of projects across the Zambian mining spectrum, investing over US$575 million in the energy sector, and over US$155 million in the construction of shopping malls, all done over the last two years.
“Banks are always looked at as lenders, but they should also see themselves as providers of advice. You educate an investor or a promoter on how to raise capital and equity that is required to maintain an equity level that is sustainable, because control is not everything,” Mr Mwenya said.
He said this recently on the sidelines of the Sustainable Energy Southern Africa Forum of the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership.
Mr Mwenya also said there is need to revise the current electricity tariffs if the energy sector is to thrive.
“We need to look at whether the electricity tariffs that we have in this country are market-related, and if not, how to adjust them to make long-term projects bankable and profitable, but we also need to provide a social safety net for people who may not be able to afford those tariffs,” he said.
Mr Mwenya said unlike other sectors, electricity tariffs cannot be increased overnight because the impact on the economy can be severe; therefore, discussions have been taking place between the public and private sectors to find the way forward.

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