UPP president Saviour Chishimba says the 75 per cent electricity tariff hike is just the beginning of the worst nightmare.

In a statement today, Saviour observed that Zambians had voted for a treacherous government.

“The recent announcement by the Energy Regulation Board on the intention of ZESCO to increase electricity tariffs by 75% has not come as a surprise to UPP. UPP was the first political party to pre-empty the intention of the PF-MMD government to direct ZESCO to increase tariffs by 300%. We had credible intelligence on the whole scheme. The 300% upward adjustment in electricity tariffs was part of the agreement that the PF regime reached at a secret meeting which was held in April 2016 with the IMF in Washington DC,” Saviour stated.

“It was agreed in that meeting that adjustments would be made after elections. UPP has a full, word-for-word, transcript of the PF meeting with the IMF. Therefore, the people of Zambia went into the booths to vote for the treacherous PF which had a spear in readiness to stab Zambians in their backs after being given the power to govern. We want to state, once again, that the proposed 75% is just the beginning of the worst nightmare because the target is 300%. This is a precondition for the IMF loan that the PF is pushing to get at all costs.”

He stated that electricity tariff increases would only serve the interests of the IMF and corrupt leaders.

“UPP has been studying the reactions from the people of Zambia and have noted that there are some who believe that electricity supply bottlenecks would end once electricity tariffs are increased. Others have even called for the sale of ZESCO. Fellow compatriots and comrades in the new struggle; do not be deceived. The proposed increase in tariffs will only serve the interests of the IMF and our corrupt leaders in government. UPP is sitting on a heap of evidence showing the massive corruption in the energy sector,” Saviour stated.

He noted that the PF had been abusing Zesco.

“Ndola Energy, which is owned by Dalbit of Kenya, has been getting input raw materials for free from Indeni to generate electricity. Meanwhile, ZESCO has been buying electricity from Ndola Energy at 16 cents per kilowatt. The same is resold by ZESCO at 6 cents per kilowatt. Clearly, ZESCO is being abused by the PF and this must stop! If a foreign owned company can get raw materials for free, why can’t ZESCO get the same input raw materials for free and generate cheap electricity for our people? Foreigners are siphoning our resources to power the pockets of the elite,” he stated.

Saviour observed that the increase in tariffs would impoverish Zambians.

“UPP knows all the current and former government leaders who are behind this scandal. Our economy is headed for a recession and job cuts are on the increase due to the high cost of doing business in Zambia. Aggregate demand has drastically dropped because the people’s pockets are empty. The little money the people have has lost the purchasing power. Zambian workers are now buying half-full trolleys of supplies when a few years ago they were able to buy two trolleys of supplies with the same amount of money,” stated Saviour.

“The PF-MMD Government must be warned sternly that any policy which pushes the cost of doing business upwards in Zambia will hurt the people of Zambia who are already being subjected to hardships. The army, police and prison officers, intelligence community and civil servants are among the lowest paid and such increments in tariffs will impoverish these gallant men and women who sacrifice for our nation. The PF-MMD regime has introduced the policy that compels each police officer in the camp to pay for his/her own electricity bills. How will these already poorly paid officers pay the high cost of electricity?”