ZESCO Limited Board Chairperson Vickson Ncube has revealed that Exim Bank of China has frozen the $2 billion funding towards the construction of the Kafue Gorge Power plant.
And former Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande says it will be sad if Zesco is unable to continue financing the project.
Speaking during ZNBC Sunday Interview programme, Ncube said that the company was mobilising resources internally to complete the project.
“Here is what happens, we have a funding, we have a contract to build and finish those five hydro power stations in lower Kafue then we have a funding to do that suddenly freezes. We are not going to detail that but the funding dries up and we are still in this state. Remember, no matter how you cry at a funeral, you will not resurrect a dead person. So no matter how Zambians can cry about that funding, it doesn’t help. So we sit with our management, from our little resources, can you go and negotiate with our contractor, let’s start paying him or them whatever we are able so that we are able to finish these outstanding generators,” he said,
“As I am talking to you, three are done from internally organised resources. We are now targeting that by the end of third quarter, all the other two must have been finished. We will then continue paying our contractor the debt but we are already paying bit by bit to make them continue the work. And we are very confident that before December this year, all five would have been commissioned because you cannot continue crying that no we have no funding. We are in a hurry to solve these problems; our contractors are back on site.”
Meanwhile, Ncube vowed that under his watch, ZESCO would never be used by politicians.
“Since I became board chairman, not a single politician has come to me to say do this or that, give a contract to this one or that one. I have not gotten to that level myself. Our arrangement with the MD is that when he gets pressure from politics, he must bring it to me because I am the one who is appointed by the politicians; I am the one representing the shareholder who then gets called the politician. I told them when you get pressure, bring to me I will go and talk to the politician. So far, he has not referred anything to me to say no chair I have this pressure,” he said.
“So I can only imagine that where we are standing right now, we don’t have political interference. But that said, I can without contradiction and without fear state that under our watch as a ZESCO board and management, ZESCO shall serve the Zambian people and shall not be used for any political end.”
Asked on the presence of ghost workers at the utility company, Ncube said he had tasked management to conduct a human capital audit.
“I have asked the management of Zesco to do for me a human capital audit. And I told them three criteria; look at every job at Zesco, every employee, qualifications, relevance and value. When I get that report, I will have an answer for that if there is any ghost worker. Because ghost workers can be a person on a payroll not working for Zesco, a person working for Zesco and not delivering anything, he is still a ghost worker,” said Ncube.
And commenting on the frozen funding in an interview, Magande said it would be sad if Zesco was unable to continue financing the project.
“It will then be very sad if Zesco is not able. It simply means just like we are talking about fuel, when fuel doesn’t come, it affects so many things so now we will realise that even for Zesco, if they are unable to generate enough power for us, then it will affect the industries around. So these are some of the things that we have been saying that it is nice to cite things but unless you have got your finances well lined up, you would run into problems when you are supposed to finish your programme,” said Magande.