Energy minister David Mabumba says government is looking for a partner to invest and take charge of Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola.
Mabumba has further assured the more than 300 workers that no one will lose their job as a result of a new partner.
He said this yesterday when he addressed the workers on government plans to have a new partner at the Petroleum Refinery.
“There is need for a partner that will help improve the efficiency of the refinery. Indeni is in need of an investment of US$600 million in order to meet its design capacity of 1.1 million tonnes per annum and beyond,” Mabumba said.
He said Indeni had remained stagnant and was only producing 650,000 tonnes of fuel against its design capacity of 1.1million tonnes.
“For Indeni to meet its design capacity and beyond, there is need for a partner. We have started the journey, by Wednesday this week we will start advertising in the Newspapers for a partner who will help us to put additional investment in the refinery,” he said.
However, Mabumba said government was not going to surrender all its stake in Indeni, but was looking for a partnership.
He said Government had learnt lessons from previous partners such as Total Energy and was hopeful that the new partnership would be a success.
He said the coming in of a new partner would help the refinery grow and diversify its operations thereby creating more jobs for the locals.
“The government has no intentions of privatising the company because it wants to secure its investment and the jobs of the more 300 workers at the company.”
Indeni Petroleum Board Chairperson Yamfwa Mukanga said the company had bright future and that it had started the production of bitumen.
“Let me assure you the workers of continued operations and growth of the company through additional investment.The jobs of the people, you the workers are secured and this we will protect.”
He said the company was still viable and that it had this year paid a dividend of K7 million to Government.
But some workers have expressed concern at the decision to be taken by government.
“We saw this coming and for the minister to come and just tell us that we will see adverts in the papers by tomorrow is shocking. We know that they have already found the partner they want. But we hope its not a Chinese company, because everything in Zambia is now China made and run,” the worker who did not want to be named said.
In March this year, News Diggers revealed that government was planning to sell Indeni and free its shares in TAZAMA.
An investigation revealed that government was focusing on importing processed fuel as opposed to crude feedstock which was cheaper.
The Country has on more than two occasions in the last five years, bought contaminated crude which has been damaging the Ndola based Petroleum Facility.