[By Emelia Phiri]
CHIEF government spokesperson Dora Siliya has urged citizens to migrate to other sources of energy and not rely on hydro power.
During a media briefing yesterday, Siliya said while the government was still looking for money to import power from Eskom, citizens should consider migrating to other sources of energy for power.
“We know that this is a very difficult time for the people and one of the things we are trying to do is while we look at the issues of supply in terms of importing power, we are also trying to see what else can be done to assist the citizens from the demand point of view,” Siliya said. “I did discuss with the Minister of Finance [Dr Bwalya Ng’andu] yesterday [Tuesday] that we should look at the possibility of ensuring that all these gases and the cylinders must be available and cheap as possible to make sure that solar geysers are cheap as possible. We must make sure that inventors are available. I know now that to set up an inventor for energy is an investment of about K25,000. That is beyond the reach of many Zambians. We want these resources to be cheap as possible.”
Siliya observed that there were institutions like MTN promoting mini-inventors costing about K2,000.
“Going forward is that these high density areas like people from Mtendere, Kalingalinga, Chawama, Twapia in the Copperbelt…If it is possible that we open up new business avenues to set up stations, for government to endorse in those areas, where gas is close to the people where it’s cheap we need to do that. What can the Minister of Finance do in terms of waiving the duties on these gadgets so that the Zambians can afford power?” Siliya asked.
“It means government must also play its part and ensure that these are available and are as near to the people as possible. So that’s what we are doing. We are no sleeping, we are having obviously financial challenges as a country. So we are not sleeping, we understand the supply problem but we are also saying let us try and deal with the demand problem because if many of us migrate from Zesco and begin to use gas at home, begin to use solar at home, the burden for Zesco will be reduced.”
Siliya was quick to note that one of the opposition leaders was asking where the government was going to get the money.
“We have to find it and it means something else will suffer but we need to find this money from ourselves so that we can get this power. The amount for power importation was $42 million for two months from Eskom and the Minister of Energy [Mathew Nkhuwa] did state that $10 million was going to be paid,” she said.
“That was done and he is still trying to discuss with Ministry of Finance to pay the balance. We don’t have it now yet remember the Minister of Energy did say that he was hoping to get money from Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and other institutions of government because this is the money for the people of Zambia.”
Siliya said Zesco had liquidity problems because it was had been subsidizing everyone while producing power at a very high price.
“But what do we do now? Many of us have to migrate from Zesco power to other sources at household level,” said Siliya. “It is just the future. We have to use gas for cooking, we have to use solar for geysers for bathing. We just have to use everything else so that we reduce the burden on Zesco.”