UPND demands Zesco reforms details

WE demand for details of the so-called Zesco reforms, says UPND chairperson for energy Charles Kaisala. Kaisala stated that the PF regime, through Secretary to Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska, issued “a vague statement” on the government’s intention to carry out reforms in Zesco.

“As UPND and as concerned citizens, we are highly suspicious of the kind of reforms they intend to carry out in our strategic power utility, Zesco. We demand for details of the so-called Zesco reforms,” Kaisala stated in a statement yesterday.

“This is especially that we are aware of the high indebtedness of Zesco due to the upgrades that have been done by the Chinese firm, Sino Hydro. We hope it will not be another scandal like was the case with ZNBC where we ended up losing the national broadcaster to the Chinese firm after we failed to pay the debt.”

Kaisala asked the PF government to give the details of the “so-called reforms” they wanted to implement at Zesco so that citizens have a say.

“We also demand for the financial position of Zesco, including the loans owed to various lenders and how they intend to repay them,” stated Kaisala.

“We also demand to know the staffing levels at Zesco where we understand it is full of unqualified PF cadres hence overburdening the wage bill resulting in compromising equipment maintenance.”

Secretary to the Cabinet and chairperson of the Zesco reforms implementation team Dr Msiska issued a press statement, dated November 15, 2018, on the implementation of Zesco reforms.

“This serves to inform the general public and all stakeholders at large that the Government of the Republic of Zambia has commenced implementing measures aimed at transforming ZESCO into a more effective and efficient public utility company. As you may be aware, ZESCO is a wholly State-owned enterprise and will remain so into the foreseeable future,” stated Dr Msiska.

“The gist of the matter is that, in the recent past, ZESCO has been experiencing serious operational challenges. Alive to these challenges, Cabinet, in 2017 commissioned a diagnostic study which accordingly made recommendations to ameliorate those challenges. Arising from the study report, Cabinet, at its meeting held on 16th July, 2018, approved the recommendations and directed that an implementation team be constituted to implement the accepted recommendations whose overall objective is to turn ZESCO into a viable company that efficiently generates, transmits and distributes electricity to both domestic and industrial clients as well as the export market.”

He added that in accordance with the Cabinet directive, the implementation team, under his leadership, has since begun its work “in earnest and will regularly update the public and other stakeholders on progress made.”

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