Former Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Dr Chrispin Mphuka says if Zesco is being honest about the reduction of load shedding hours, economic actives are likely to increase.

But NAREP vice-president Charles Maboshe says the reduction in the number of load shedding hours is minimal and will have no impact on the economy.

Last week, Zesco announced that the corporation had reduced load shedding hours from 15 hours to between 10 and 12 hours per day due to Maamba Collieries being back at full operating capacity.

“This development is due to the full resumption of generation at Maamba Collieries Limited following the repair and restoration of the generating unit that was out of service for sometime. The corporation is therefore happy to announce that it has reviewed the situation and has made the decision to pass on the benefit to customers slightly reducing the load shedding hours. It should be noted that Zesco will continue to review and monitor the water levels at the main reservoirs as the rain season progresses and will provide updates to the public accordingly,” announced Zesco.

And in an interview, Dr Mphuka said the reduction would be helpful to small scale entrepreneurs.

“Well it depends on who is going to access that reduced load shedding. But we are likely to start seeing more economic activities especially the small scale entrepreneurs who have no alternative sources. So if that is reduced and power starts coming in times where they could do business, the guys who have saloons and barbershops, definitely we are going to see a marginal improvement. Not a huge improvement unless we go further to something like six hours that is when the economic activities will pick up better. But certainly whatever power is made available will have a positive feedback. But the question also is that, is that true? Will they live to that? We may be told they have reduced to this and yet we continue to see the same things. I think that when that feedback is given, that is when we will see if things are improving. We are yet see,” said Dr Mphuka.

And in a separate interview, Maboshe said anything more than three hours of load shedding was terrible.

“That is a little impact! Because if they are going to reduce the hours when people are sleeping what difference will it make? All those businesses houses are suffering and during the day they don’t have power they are using generators. And fuel has now become expensive so there is not much impact and all. And I hope that this power would be available during working hours. We pray that they will do better and give us enough power. Anything more than three hours of load shedding is terrible! The best thing that they (Zesco) can do is that they should invest into the renewable energy solutions and solar energy,” said Maboshe.