ENERGY Minister Matthew Nkhuwa says he is yet to receive a report on the status of the Zesco Limited and the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) Plc Bulk Supply Agreement (BSA), which lapses next Tuesday.
In January, CEC had confirmed that the BSA it entered into with Zesco Limited on November 21, 1997, was expected to come to an end on March 31, 2020, and would not be renewed, but that negotiations were ongoing to find an alternative legal framework.
In an interview, Nkhuwa said the status report on the ongoing negotiations were yet to be availed to him, but assured that the government would convene a press briefing on the matter once negotiations were completed.
“I am not part of the negotiations. The negotiations are being done by Zesco and CEC so speak to the managing director of Zesco [Victor Mundende]; he is the one in charge. So, when they are finished, they will report to me. They have not yet reported to me so I am sure that once we finish, we will do a press briefing,” Nkhuwa said.
But Zesco director for strategy and corporate services Patrick Mwila declined to comment on the matter as he said the issue could only be addressed by Nkhuwa.
“No, I cannot make any comments on those things because it will be breach of protocol. The only person who can comment is the Minister (Nkhuwa) until the matter is disposed of. Can you imagine even if Zesco was doing anything about it, can you start going to the press before the authority has received the report? It is not possible. So, please, please, just wait; you will be informed,” said Mwila in a brief interview.
Meanwhile, CEC managing director Owen Silavwe maintained that negotiations on the BSA were still ongoing.
“Well, the issue is we have obviously decided, if you have noticed that we have decided not to negotiate through the press. So, the only thing I can tell you is that the negotiations are still ongoing. 31st of March, you guys are aware that in terms of where we are, we are not in a position to say…all I can tell you is that the negotiations are still ongoing. I can’t say anything more than that, unfortunately,” said Silavwe in a separate brief interview.