Eastern Province has potential to export power – Wignaraja
EASTERN Province has potential to export power to neighbouring countries by 2015 if Government invests in mini-hydro power stations, says United Nations (UN) resident co-ordinator Kanni Wignaraja.
Ms Wignaraja says investing in hydro power stations is the answer to Eastern Province’s energy problems, which have hindered the growth of other sectors such as manufacturing.
She urged the provincial administration through the permanent secretary Hlobotha Nkunika to come up with a detailed plan on how the province can woo investors in the energy sector.
The UN co-ordinator, who was touring of the province recently, said this during a courtesy call at Mr Nkunika’s office where she presented 2011 Human Development Report.
Mr Nkunika presented the challenges the province is facing such as lack of hydro power stations despite the province having enough water bodies such as Luangwa River.
“What the province needs is to identify one sector which will trigger development in other industries and that sector is energy. Investing in mini-hydro power stations will enable the province to export power to neighbouring countries by 2015,” she said.
Ms Wignaraja said power will not only be exported but will also help run the local industries such as textile, which currently is not in existence despite cotton being grown in the area.
She said her office will offer help but first the provincial office should indicate which sector needs attention and how much help is required.
In thanking Ms Wignaraja, Mr Nkunika said the province wants investors who will run manufacturing plants where finished goods will be produced.
He said investing in hydro power stations seems to be the answer considering that the province has enough water bodies for such ventures.
He said Lundazi district gets power from Malawi, but that will end once the province starts to have its own hydro power stations.
He said as a result of power supply deficiency for both domestic and industrial use, some people have resorted to cutting down trees, which has resulted into deforestation.
Mr Nkunika said the only way to solve the problem is to bringing electricity to the people and improve the road network which is also in a poor state.
[Zambia Daily Mail]