Government says it is keenly exploring various avenues to effectively mitigate the energy deficit that has hit the country since last year.
Speaking during a phone in HOT 87.7FM ‘Hot seat’ radio program last evening, Energy Permanent Secretary Edward Chomba assured the nation that apart from the current massive dam construction and rehabilitation programs, alternative solutions are in place to address the energy crisis.
Responding to some concerns from callers over what long term plans are in place in the energy sector to curtail load shedding being experienced in the country, Dr. Chomba said initiatives such as solar energy and gas are being encouraged and taken up by various stakeholders to meet energy demands.
He pointed out that, energy being a complex sector, needs the participation of various players to tap into its dynamism of power generation.
Dr. Chomba said government is aware of the negative impact of electricity deficit on the economy such as low production in the manufacturing and mining sectors and subsequent job losses hence its resolve to roll out long term solutions to harness more energy to fill the void.
He said owing to its outlined policy over energy prioritization other cooperating partners like the Africa Development Bank(ADB), World Bank have come on board to provide financial support for construction of preserving dams, meant to be water reservoirs for hydro power schemes.
He said conserving water for hydro power generation is an important option following lessons learnt from the depleted water levels in the country’s major dams like the Kariba which may need more rains or water from tributary rivers to get back to capacity.
And the Private Sector Development Association says, while it appreciates the strides made by government to mitigate the energy crisis caution must be taken against living a major part of the sector into private enterprise.
Speaking on the same program, PSDA Chairperson Yusuf Dodia advised that Zambia needs to learn from other country’s mistakes where countries have been at the mercy of private energy suppliers.
Mr. Dodia said with energy being a cornerstone for economic growth of any country , there is need to ensure that majority ownership of the sector is in government control to avoid its cost being hefty for the fulfilments of the country’s domestic and commercial needs.
He called for a balance in terms of shareholding that would see government commanding a majority of ownership of the means to energy production utilities in order to steer development in the direction it wants in relation to energy use and harness.