Zambia will continue importing power until 2019 – Minister

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Energy Minister David Mabumba says Zambia will continue to import electricity for another two years.

Mabumba was responding to a question from Mkushi North PF member of parliament Doreen Mwape who wanted to know when government would cease the importation of power after he updated the House on developments in the energy sector.

“If we look at the history where we have come from, in 2014 and 2015 we were importing almost 560 MW of power. Today in my ministerial statement I have indicated we are at 75 MW so we have made significant progress, of course due to the good rainfall pattern that we have had. But I am sure, honorable Speaker, it is not an issue which I can say we are going to completely get rid of the importation of power in the interim. It will remain but I am sure in the next two to three years Zambia will become self-sufficient in terms of power supply and importation of power given the number of projects that we are implementing,” Mabumba said.

He explained that despite the impending Zesco tariff hikes, poor people would still be cushioned.

“What is important is that we have increased the tariff band. In order to address the concerns of the members of parliament for the people that they represent in their constituencies, the PF government, being a pro-poor government, has decided to increase the units from 100 to 300 units per kwh which will remain at 15 ngwee. Which means that a person on low income in Monze on this 300 units will only be able to pay a K45 if you add a few maybe TV levy and so forth. It will not even be able to go beyond K100. This is how this government is addressing the concerns of honorable members who are representing people on low incomes,” he said.

Mabumba also told Parliament that he would in the next sitting present two bills which were meant to ensure consistency in tariff determination.

“I intend also Mr Speaker in the next sitting of Parliament to present two bills to this house for ratification namely the Electricity Bill 2017 and the Energy Regulation Bill 2017. These bills are intended to give the ERB greater oversight of the energy sector as well as create a consistent framework for tariff determination which has been problematic historically honorable Speaker. These Bills will also provide regulatory oversight of power supply agreements, bulk supply agreements and empower the ERB to determine the tariffs for all electricity consumers including the mining companies,” said Mabumba.

Meanwhile, Mabumba said a Petroleum Management Bill, meant to regulate fuel procurement by the private sector, would also be brought to the House for scrutiny in the next sitting.

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