May 16, 2016: State House announces President Edgar Lungu’s safe arrival in Saudi Arabia to negotiate the cheapest oil deal ever, which would see the cost of fuel in Zambia go down to as low as K5.5 per litre.
MAY 18, 2016: GOVT ANNOUNCES SIGNING OF A FIVE-YEAR ZAMBIA-SAUDI OIL DEAL AGREEMENT.
ZNBC: “Zambia and Saudi Arabia have signed documents to operationalise the importation of cheaper fuel to Zambia.
Energy Minister Dora Siliya says the deal will soon materialise as technocrats from both Saudi Arabia and Zambia are now working on final touches before the FIRST shipment of fuel leaves for Zambia. The minister says the offer by the Saudi Fund for Development to supply cheaper oil for five years is beneficial because it is a government-to-government deal, which makes it cost effective and reliable. Ms. Siliya has told Zambian journalists in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah that the offer by Saudi Arabia will help reduce fuel shortages, which the country experienced a few months ago.
AUGUST 25, 2017: AMOS CHANDA REACTS TO PUBLIC CONCERNS ABOUT EXPENSIVE GIFTS FROM SAUDI ARABIA
News Diggers!: “Look, if you see Amos Chanda with a Rolex watch, the assumption is that he has stolen so much money. [But] do you know that I was a special envoy to a foreign Head of State? It is rude, it’s unacceptable [and] it is undiplomatic to refuse a gift that is given [to you]! But you people will take a picture and say, ‘now he has got a Rolex!’ What do you do in that circumstance? Even I went [to Saudi Arabia] with a certain copper gift and when you present, you actually don’t know what is in that [parcel]. [But] this is it (shows his wrist watch)!”
OCTOBER 17, 2017: ERB INCREASES FUEL PUMP PRICES. CHEAP SAUDI OIL IS NOWHERE.
Times of Zambia: “The Energy Regulation Board has announced an increment in fuel prices effective midnight tonight. Petrol has gone up from K11.67 to K12.97, while diesel is up from K9.87 to K11.09 and kerosene will now cost K7.82 from K6.50. The increment has been necessitated by changes in the international oil prices and the depreciation of the kwacha.”
JANUARY 10, 2018: ZAMBIA GETS US $102 MILLION LOAN FROM SAUDI ARABIA. CHEAP SAUDI OIL DEAL MUTED.
News Diggers!: “This relationship was reinvigorated when His Excellency President Lungu went to Saudi Arabia and met the King. Today, we have endorsed that engagement that they had last May. We have just signed a financing facility of US $102 million to construct an 800 bed-space hospital here in Lusaka.”
JANUARY 12, 2018: LUNGU ORDERS PROBE INTO DELAYED SAUDI OIL AGREEMENT
Zambia Daily Mail: “President Edgar Lungu is concerned that some collaborative programmes between Zambia and Saudi Arabia have not been implemented. Mr Lungu said he will send Minister of Development Planning Alexander Chiteme, Minister of Finance Felix Mutati and Minister of Energy David Mabumba to Saudi Arabia to investigate what has been hindering effective implementation of programmes.
FEBRUARY 12, 2018: ERB INCREASES FUEL PRICES, AGAINST PUBLIC DEMAND FOR CHEAP SAUDI OIL.
ZNBC: “Specifically, from the last price adjustment on 17th October, 2017, Murban crude oil prices per barrel increased by 9.04 per cent from US $58.10/bbl to US$63.35/bbl in November, 2017, reaching US $64.85/bbl by December, 2017.”
MAY 29, 2018: GOVT PROMISES TO NEGOTIATE EXTENTION OF THE UNSEEN SAUDI OIL DEAL BEYOND 5 YEARS.
Daily Nation: “In terms of the oil deal with Saudi Arabia, everything has been paid and we should be rolling it out next month. What is worth noting is that US $20 million is not a lot of money, but we will see at what price we will accommodate the consumers to ensure that Zambians benefit from the deal. I will embark on a trip to Saudi Arabia to get the deal sealed and discuss how they can make the deal ongoing beyond the offered five years.”
JULY 30, 2018: GOVT FINALLY ANNOUNCES ARRIVAL OF LONG-AWAITED CHEAP SAUDI OIL.
Zambia Daily Mail: Minister of Energy Matthew Nkhuwa says US $20 million worth of crude oil from Saudi Arabia is finally expected to dock at the port of Dar es Salaam on Wednesday to supply Zambia the long-awaited cheap-priced commodity. Mr Nkhuwa said in an interview yesterday that the ship will begin offloading the oil in the second week of August. He said initially, the ship docked in June, but it had wrong specifications for offloading and was, therefore, not compatible to the port.
October 2, 2018: ERB INCREASES FUEL PRICES. GOVT SAYS SAUDI OIL DEAL LASTED ONLY 6 DAYS.
ERB: “There will be an upward adjustment in prices per litre by K2.31 for petrol, K2.64 for diesel and K2.49 for kerosene, due to changes in the fundamentals that determine fuel prices. The 14th August, 2018, price review could not be implemented as there was need to take into account the Saudi Arabia cargo, which was to arrive separately.”
Dora Siliya: “For the record, the Saudi oil was only enough for 6 days. It was only 10 million litres petrol and 10 million litres diesel. Consumption is about 2 million litres for each per day.”
Our opinion? This deal was a smoke screen for much bigger personal deals, which the delegation made with individual businessmen in that country. Evidently, so far, the top beneficiaries of the Zambia-Saudi oil deal are those who travelled with the President and returned with expensive gifts and Rolex watches.