UPND chairperson for energy Charles Kaisala says the PF government should give details of the planned reforms in ZESCO.

Last week, Secretary to Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska issued a statement announcing that Zesco would be transformed, without any elaboration.

“This serves to inform the general public and stakeholders that the government of the Republic of Zambia has commenced implementing measures aimed at transforming Zesco into it more effective and efficient public utility. As you may be aware, Zesco is a wholly state-owned enterprise and will remain so into the foreseeable future. The gist of the matter is that, in the recent past, Zesco has been experiencing serious operational challenges. Alive to these challenges, Cabinet in 2017 commissioned a diagnostic study, which accordingly made recommendations to ameliorate those challenges,” stated Dr Msiska.

“Arising from the study report, Cabinet at its meeting held on July 16, 2018, approved the recommendations and directed that an implementation team be constituted to implement the accepted recommendation whose overall objective is to turn Zesco into a viable company that efficiently generates, transmits and distributes electricity to both domestic and industrial clients, as well as the export market. In accordance with the Cabinet directive, the implementation team under the leadership of the Secretary to the Cabinet, has since began its work in earnest and will regularly update the public and other stakeholders on progress made.”

But in a statement, Kaisala challenged government to also explain ZESCO’s true financial position in order to allow citizens have a say from an informed point of view.

“The PF regime, through the Secretary to Cabinet, issued a vague statement on their intention to carry out reforms in ZESCO. As UPND and as concerned citizens, we are highly suspicious of the kind of reforms they intend to carry out in our strategic power utility company, ZESCO. This is especially that we are aware of the high indebtedness of ZESCO due to the upgrades that have been done by the Chinese firm Sino Hydro. We hope it will not be another scandal like was the case with ZNBC where we ended up losing the national broadcaster to the Chinese firm after we failed to pay the debt,” stated Kaisala.

“We now demand that the PF regime gives us the details of the so-called reforms they want to implement at ZESCO So that citizens can have a say. We also demand for the financial position of ZESCO including the loans owed to various lenders and how they intend to repay them. We also demand to know the staffing levels at ZESCO where we understand it is full of unqualified PF cadres hence overburdening the wage bill resulting in compromising equipment maintenance,” stated Kaisala.