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PF will never act in Zambia’s best interests – HH

THE PF will never act in the best interests of the nation, says Hakainde Hichilema.

In a message yesterday, the opposition UPND leader said the ruling Patriotic Front never listens and would never act in Zambia’s best interests.

“Sata once said “Icakukonka ulubilo, naiwe cikonke ulubilo!” Our own interpretation is that a matter that needs urgent attention must be treated as such. It is therefore strange that the power deficit the country is experiencing is being treated as if it is not an emergency,” said Hichilema.

“Forget importing power from ESKOM. Government must just award 10 tenders to 10 private sector companies on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis, to construct 11 solar power plants each of 80 megawatts. This, within six months, will give us 880 megawatts (current power deficit is 850 megawatts) of electricity and kiss load shedding goodbye. The power PF is importing is K1.28 per ($0.09) KWh, to be sold at 89 ($0.06) ngwee (maximum) essentially making a loss of 39 ngwee or put it bluntly they will import power at US$20.5 million to sell for $13.4 million making a loss of US$7.1 million in the process.”

He said the PF would borrow to plug the $7.1 million loss to import more power in the following month.

“This cycle will continue! But this is PF, they will never listen, and they will never act in the best interests of the nation…Calculator yakota kufunika ina nso [the old calculator needs to be replaced] lol,” said Hichilema.

On Tuesday, the government said it had approved the introduction of a Creditworthy Renewable Energy Intermediary Power Off-taker that will sit between Zesco Limited and Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Energy minister Mathew Nkhuwa said the introduction of the Creditworthy Intermediary Off-taker would attract a significant amount of funding required for the sector’s diversification and ensure the successful completion of a significant number of renewable energy projects already in the pipeline.

He said the facility was premised on resolving creditworthiness of power off-takers from renewable energy IPPs.

“In addition, the Intermediary Off-taker will not own or operate any grid infrastructure or seek to replace exiting utilities, but will rather complement them and facilitate the optimisation of the power sector from the operational, financial, and commercial perspective resulting in a reduction of costs of energy, diversification of energy resources and increase in the supply of cheaper electricity,” Nkhuwa said. “The creditworthiness entails building a capital buffer that holds Independent Power Producers for a period of up to 15 months and guarantees payment to commercial lenders by IPPs. It is hoped that this will reduce project risk profile, cost and output tariff. In this regard, cheaper power will therefore be available.”

He noted that 84 per cent of the country’s electricity generation was from large hydro which is susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly low rainfall patterns.

“In view of the foregoing and bearing in mind the climate change that has negatively affected our power generation, we need to plan for the future and ensure security of supply to critical socio-economic sectors as well as resolve investment challenges in power generation,” said Nkhuwa.

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