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Energy sector on right track – Expert

By Derrick Silimina

Energy expert Johnstone Chikwanda has commended the new dawn administration for shifting Zambia to the use of cleaner fuels.

In a statement, Dr. Chikwanda has also lauded the government for successfully converting the 1,710km from transporting co-mingled feedstock to refined low sulphur diesel, a significant milestone in the cost reduction plan.

“As the new dawn administration turns two years in office, I would like to commend them for shifting Zambia to the use of cleaner fuels. Government has also waived Customs Duty at 0% instead of 25% aimed at protecting consumers from higher fuel pump prices. To this end the Government has waived about $300m which could have been raised from consumers had this tax not been zero rated,” Dr. Chikwanda said.

He disclosed that another achievement that the new dawn administration has managed to score in its two years of being in office is the completion of the commissioning of the remaining units at the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower using locally raised resources without recourse to the loan with previous funders while funding to Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has reached unprecedented levels by doubling the previous allocation of K360 million in 2022 to K740 million in 2023.

Dr. Chikwanda further noted that as part of decentralization, local communities have been allocated a significant amount to decide on what to electrify from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocated amount, which is a notable development.

“Government has further signed partnership agreements for renewable energy worth over $7 billion, which is completely changing the energy topography of the country by focusing on other forms of energy. This move is also raising Zambia’s profile as a net energy exporter as more facilities come online,” he stated.

The energy expert highlighted that the above notable achievements in Zambia’s energy sector are welcome and show the government’s will to transform the sector.

He however stressed that the biggest hurdle remains the lengthy and cumbersome approval processes in the energy sector which covers over three ministries and are embedded in the laws of the land.

“I am optimistic that this hurdle will be overcome soon as the government is working at it so that stagnated projects can be unlocked,” Dr. Chikwanda affirmed.

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