Caritas Zambia Executive Director Eugene Kabilika says there will be a backlash over the impending increase in electricity tariffs because people’s salaries have remained the same.
Zesco intends to increase the cost of electricity twice this year – first in May by 50% and 25% in September.
“It is bad news for people who are poor. At the moment they are suffering and those who are at a very low income, even those that are reasonably okay like those who are civil servants…their salaries have remained stuck – meanwhile prices for goods and services have been going up,” Kabilika said.
He observed that the increase in electricity would have a spiral effect on the price of other goods and services.
“It will create a spiral of increments. Those who depend on electricity to produce the products, they will definitely have to adjust upwards,” Kabilika said.
“At the moment people are literally struggling to make ends meet. If you are running a grinding meal and it is using electricity, of course your mealie meal will go up.”
He recalled the blacklash which ensued by the Energy Regulation Board approved a 187 per cent increment in 2015.
“Remember what happened last time when electricity was increased? When people went to buy electricity and suddenly they realised that when they buy units, their units could not go anywhere. K50 was buying very little watts, so there was an outcry until they reversed. This might also cause that kind of a problem,” said Kabilika.
“I think people must be cautious and take into account the balance between continuous production of electricity to service everyone and also the needs of the poor. We need geniuses to come up and unravel this.”