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Govt approves implementation of National Off-Grid Solar Mini-Grid Project

CHIEF government spokesperson Dora Siliya says Cabinet has approved the implementation of the National Off-Grid Solar Mini-Grid Project as an alternative to the reduced hydro-power generation due to lower water levels.

In a statement on the decisions made by Cabinet at the 20th Cabinet meeting held at State House on Monday, Siliya said the National Off-Grid Solar Mini-Grid Project would facilitate increased access to electricity by the rural population in Zambia; contribute to improved productivity and quality of life; and to improved social service delivery.

“Cabinet is already looking at implementation of alternative sources of electricity generation as an immediate answer to the electricity shortages the country is faced with as a result of climate change,” she said.

She said Cabinet also expressed the need to urgently address the current electricity challenges the country is going through due to the effects of climate change that have led to reduced water levels for electricity generation.

Siliya said this had led to reduced economic activity with increased electricity rationing through load-shedding.

She said President Edgar Lungu called for the 20th Cabinet Meeting on Monday, November 4, to mainly discuss policy matters aimed at addressing the electricity challenges the country is currently going through and ensure continued development of the country.

She said Cabinet approved the Revised National Energy Policy, 2019 to guide the development and management of the energy sector.

Siliya said the Revised National Energy Policy 2019 builds on previous policies of 1994 and 2008, anchored on the Seventh National Development Plan and Vision 2030.

He said the government decided to revise the 2008 policy with a view to comprehensively address the challenges currently being experienced in the energy sector.

Siliya said the revised policy aims at facilitating open access regimes, cost reflective tariff in the pricing of energy services in order to promote investment, encourage the multiplicity of players in the energy market and promote alternative sources of energy such as geo-thermal, solar, wind and other technologies such as nuclear energy.

She said Cabinet also approved for publication and introduction in Parliament of “The Energy Regulation Bill, 2019” during the current sitting.

Siliya said the objectives of this Bill were to continue the existence of the Energy Regulation Board and provide for licensing of enterprises in the energy sector and repeal and replace the Energy Regulation Act, 1995.

She said Cabinet was of the view that the Energy Regulation Act, Cap. 436 was inadequate in dealing with various issues related to licensing of enterprises in the energy sector during this period, hence the need to introduce a new legislation.

Siliya said the new legislation was in line with the approved Revised Energy Policy 2019 in addressing the energy problems the country is currently going through.

She said during the same meeting, Cabinet approved the publication and introduction in Parliament of “The Electricity Bill, 2019.”

She said the objectives of the Bill include, among others, to regulate the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity so as to enhance the security and reliability of the supply of electricity; provide for the sale and purchase of electricity within and outside Zambia through power purchase and power supply agreements; provide for roles and responsibilities of various players in the electricity sector, including providing for a Multi-year Tariff Framework.

“Cabinet expressed the need to urgently address the current electricity challenges the country is going through due to the effects of climate change that have led to reduced water levels for electricity generation, thereby leading to reduced economic activity with increased electricity rationing through load-shedding. Cabinet emphasised that with serious implementation of the 2019 National Energy Policy, the Energy Regulation Act and the Electricity Act, the situation with regard to electricity generation and supply to industries and Zambians in general, should change in the shortest possible time,” she said.

Siliya said in winding up debate for the day, Cabinet also approved the National Strategy on Financial Education (NSFE) II, 2019-2024 in order to strengthen financial education in Zambia and develop a competitive and resilient inclusive financial sector in line with the National Financial Sector Development Policy (NFSDP) and National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2017.

She said the development of the National Strategy on Financial Education II, which builds on the first Strategy, was essential with the primary goal of having a financially educated Zambian population by 2030.

Siliya said the Strategy aims at improving knowledge, understanding, skills, motivation and confidence to help the Zambians secure positive financial outcomes for themselves and their families which will contribute to reduced poverty levels and stimulate economic growth.
She said the strategy will also contribute to the development of a stable, resilient and inclusive financial sector that contributes to economic growth and broad-based wealth creation.

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