The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) says there is need for Zesco to effectively adhere to its load shedding time-table for the manufacturing sector to maximize its outputs.

Commenting on Zesco’s revised load shedding from the 15 to 10 hours per day following the resumption of Maamba Collieries’ operations, ZAM vice-president Chipego Zulu said the move was welcome though there was need for Zesco to effectively follow their load shedding schedule to make any meaningful impact on the manufacturing sector.

“With regards to Maamba Collieries coming back on line with the 300 megawatts, and the announcement from government specifically talking about the intention to reduce load shedding, it is welcomed by manufacturers because we have always stated we need a steady supply of power for us to be able to produce efficiently. The expectation has always been that as we approach March, April, the hours of load shedding would be reducing. So, it is welcome that the hours of load shedding are reducing,” Zulu said in an interview.

“But as always, our conversation has always has been for the load shedding schedule to be adhered to; the need for constant communication between manufacturers and Zesco management to ensure that if we are given a schedule; that is, a schedule that we utilize even as hours are being reduced. So, there is still need for that to be managed efficiently and effectively in order to maximize outputs from the manufacturing sector.”

She observed that unreliability of the load shedding schedule had been a cost to the manufacturing sector.

“It is actually very difficult to know when you have power or when you won’t. As the hours are reducing, it is important that we have a clear picture of how the reduction in hours will be managed. For manufacturers, it is key to talk about the same challenges we were facing when the crisis was at its height, which is that our machinery gets negatively affected even when it comes to the costs of labour; people come in, they are supposed to be working, there is no power because you were not aware that there will be no power at this time, the schedule has changed! So, all of that needs to be managed very well, even as we move towards a state of normal schedule when it comes to the energy deficit,” said Zulu.