ZESCO has today effected another 25 per cent adjustment in electricity tariffs. And some Lusaka residents have expressed disappointment in what they have termed as failed leadership by President Edgar Lungu and his government. The Energy Regulation Board this year approved Zesco’s application for a 75 per cent tariff increase that was to be implemented in two phases.
The first phase, which was implemented on May 15, saw power tariffs hiked by 50 per cent, a move that raised concern amongst stakeholders who questioned why the adjustments had come now when the economy was hitting hard on the already suffering citizens.
And in separate interviews, Lusaka residents said President Lungu and the PF had failed the people of Zambia because of unbearable and unmanageable economic problems they were imposing on the suffering citizens. Simon Bweupe, a welder in Lusaka’s Kalingalinga compound, said it was cruel for the government to keep increasing power tariffs at will when the majority of the citizens were already finding it hard to make ends meet.
“It is sad that President Edgar Lungu and the PF have failed to honour the campaign promises they made to us the voters, of eradicating poverty and uplifting our livelihood. How do they honestly increase Zesco tariffs at this time when financial resources have become scarce for majority of Zambians, especially us the youths? We are running these small businesses just for survival, and look at us; we are just renting electricity here, what will become of us now? Do they want us to lose out on everything we have just to benefit a few individuals who are holding office? This is not right, they must revisit some of these decisions they make because they are killing us,”
Elizabeth Chipili, another resident running a saloon and barbershop, said increasing power tariffs was disadvantaging a lot of women and youths running small businesses as they were suffering huge losses.
“This is too much. First it was load-shedding which made us lose a lot of customers and just when we are trying to recover from that, they bring in the issue of increasing the purchase of power. Our businesses are not making money, we are struggling in sending our children to school. We have problems in feeding our families properly, poverty in these communities we live in as at its peak and now they want to kill us with these adjustments in power purchase. What they must understand is that we are not like them who get almost everything for free. We struggle, we sweat to enjoy a little sweet of our labour so they must stop playing with things that hinge on our livelihood,”