Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president Sean Tembo says the increment in electricity tariffs will result in acute deforestation because many people have resorted to unsustainable energy sources like charcoal.

In a statement, Tembo observed that many people were unable to meet the new cost of electricity.

He also noted that the energy generation capacity would be reduced in the long run due to the effects of climate change.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), our preliminary observation so far is that by increasing electricity tariffs by 75%, more people are finding electricity unaffordable and are resorting to other sources of energy like charcoal. This is resulting in more trees being cut down and will result in acute deforestation which will adversely affect the rain patterns in this country resulting into possible drought in future. Given that most of our power generation capacity is hydro, the envisaged future drought will significantly reduce our electricity generation capacity,” Tembo stated.

“In summary, whereas the government’s main argument for increasing electricity tariffs by 75 per cent is that they would like to attract investment into the energy sector and hence increase generation capacity, the real impact of this tariff increment will in fact be a reduction of the nation’s electricity generation capacity. It is therefore our submission that the decision by government to increase electricity tariffs by 75 percent was irrational and made in haste without an adequate and proper reflection of its actual impact. If the PF government had adequately reflected on this 75 per cent tariff increment, they would have realized that there are main adverse impacts and not a single positive impact arising from this 75 per cent increment in tariffs.”

Tembo projected that inflation would go back to double digits by November.

“Firstly, this increment will result into reduction in generation capacity of electricity arising from possible future drought, secondly upward inflationary pressure given that electricity is a key production input and its increment is having a ripple effect on the rest of the economy and inflation is expected to go back to double digit by October to November this year, if not earlier. Lastly, this increment in electricity is resulting in more hardships for our impoverished citizens whose incomes have remained stagnant for a very long time,” Tembo stated.

Tembo has since called on government to reverse the decision before it does more harm to the people of Zambia.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we hereby call upon the PF government to consider reversing this 75 per cent increment in electricity tariffs before more damage is done to this country and its people. It is our hope and wish that the government will for once let reason prevail on this matter,” stated Tembo.