ABANTU bali nensala, tabakwete akalusangu (money) and you are forcing them to pay for nothing? Hakainde Hichilema has remarked.
And the UPND leader has tweeted: “Mr. Lungu’s press briefing can be summed in four words: Not much, not much.
Zesco has applied to the Energy Regulation Board to increase electricity tariffs. The ERB is yet to made a decision on Zesco’s application.
And on Friday during a reception for journalists, President Lungu lamented the devastating effects of extended load-shedding the country is currently enduring.
President Lungu said government had decided to import power from ESKOM of South Africa to address the challenge.
“I feel for that barber who works hard to feed his family in Mandevu, Lusaka; I feel for that young beautician in Masala, Ndola, whose salon business is critically affected because of load-shedding; what about that welder in Chiwempala, Chingola who has had to work in the night because that is when power returns,” said the President.
The President however said the lasting solution to the power deficit is more investment in renewable energy such as solar.
He has said that he expects Zesco limited to complete the solar project by mid-next year.
“This 120 megawatt solar PV under the Getfit programme has six 20 megawatt projects and they will reach commercial operation date in the third quarter of 2020. In the short term, however, my government has made a decision to import power from ESKOM of South Africa. The initial requirement is to pay 44 million United States dollars of which 10 million United States dollars has already been paid. Next week, 14 million United States dollars will be paid and anytime soon thereafter, the rest of the amount will be settled. These imports are a stop-gap measure as we wait for the coming on board of 750 megawatts of power from Kafue gorge lower in early March next year. The project is at 80 per cent completion. Our experts, on the other hand, have predicted that the 2019/2020 rainy season will give us normal to above normal rain. This means that in 2020, we expect our hydro-power stations to revert to normal production. In addition, my government is scaling up power production from solar to mitigate the effects of climate change now and in future,” said President Lungu.
But the UPND leader on his Facebook page wondered wondered why citizens have to pay “more at least as announced by Mr Edgar Lungu who also doesn’t know when the supply [of electricity] from that company [South Africa] will start but” so far the country has made some payments.
The opposition leader further wondered why the President says he will increase electricity tariffs despite the current load shedding.
He, however, asked what the economic sense was in “all these mispronouncements”.
“Ok, so 44 million dollars for a two months supply of electricity by the South African company and once this is finished, you and I will be expected to pay more at least as announced by Mr Edgar Lungu who also doesn’t know when the supply from that company will start but so far as a country we have made some payments. Eish! Iyi yena yakosako bane,” said Hichilema on his Facebook page yesterday.
He stressed the need to get back to the norm of “when you pay it will show”.
Hichilema assured Zambians of hope and help being on the way.
“Can we ensure that we get back to the norm that: When you pay, it will show. When you pay, no load shedding and not when you double pay, it’s load shedding and load shedding and load shedding thereby killing businesses and other economic activities while you continue extending your long arm of corruption demanding for more money through taxes from citizens. When in that office, whether by fraud or crook, one must have solutions to the problems being faced by the people and not expecting praises when the service is offered for which you are paid by the voters. Come on bane! But citizens, take heart because hope and help is on the way,” said Hichilema.