ZAMBIA is truly changing for the better through a myriad of developmental projects that government is implementing, President Lungu has said.
He said this here yesterday when he commissioned the 120 Mega Watt Itezhi Tezhi hydro-power station built at a cost of US$142 million through a private-public partnership.
“Let us show the critics that we are changing the country through the several projects such as this one I have just commissioned,” he said.
The station will supply power to Central Province and some neighbouring regions in a development expected to significantly ease load-shedding.
President Lungu said that he would create greater access to electricity to rural and peri-urban populations through projects aimed at addressing the entire power system infrastructure.
He said government will find a remedy for the current power deficit which has had an adverse social and economic impact on the country.
On Itezhi Tezhi, President Lungu said that with the availability of reliable power supply, agriculture, mining and tourism sectors will rapidly expand and subsequently increase employment opportunities and foreign exchange inflows.
He said that the potential in the mining sector will be actualised with increased power supply.
The President also said Government has embarked on development programmes and re-aligned the district to Central Province.
He said that to revamp the road infrastructure, government is now tarring the D-79 road under the Link-Zambia 8000 project.
President Lungu said the current power deficit Zambia faces is neither a product of PF’s four years in power nor is it a creation of his one year rule.
He said that the energy problem is a combination of lack of investment in the sector and the vagaries of nature such as poor rainfall in recent years.
President Lungu said government is delivering power projects across the country, and he urged stakeholders in the Maamba coal-fired power plant to ensure that they deliver the project not later than the revised July (this year) deadline.
Speaking earlier, Energy and Water Development Minister Dora Siliya said that the hydro-power station will help to mitigate Zambia’s power deficit.
Ms Siliya said that the power shortage has been around for the past 20 to 30 years and it is not a strange occurrence.
Central Province minister Davis Chisopa said Itezhi Tezhi has a lot of potential in tourism and the commissioned hydro-power project would reduce load shedding in the region.
Mr Chisopa said the project, which started in 2007, employed about 800 local people.
The Itezhi Tezhi project is a joint venture owned by TATA Power Company Limited and Zesco in a 50/50 share ownership.
Zesco managing director Victor Mundende said the project is the first of its kind in Zambia and it has shown that public-private partnerships are viable if properly enhanced.
Mr Mundende said the hydro-power project is a great milestone in enhancing economic development in the country.