GOVERNMENT has encouraged investors to consider setting up filling stations in Kazungula District to support economic activities in the area.
Kazungula District Commissioner ,Pascalina Musokotwane encouraged local businessmen and women to take advantage of the enabling environment that Government had provided to set up filling stations in District.
She said the lack of filling stations led to the proliferation of illegal fuel vending, adding that the quality of fuel sold by illegal vendors could not be guaranteed.
“Consumers in Kazungula still have to travel outside the district to buy fuel, with the nearest filling stations being over 60 kilometers from here, in Livingstone.
“Quality of fuel sold by illegal vendors cannot be guaranteed as it could be mixed with other harmful substances. Furthermore, there are safety risks associated with the storage of illegal fuel in homes and other undesignated areas,”Ms Musokotwane said.
The District Commissioner was speaking during an energy stakeholders meeting organised by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) in Kazungula District, Southern Province on Tuesday.
Ms Musokotwane said for the past four years, Kazungula has been experiencing a lot of infrastructure projects that were being undertaken by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government such as the construction of a district hospital, as well as construction of business and housing units.
“I wish to appeal to ZESCO to ensure that reliable and quality power is supplied to the district in order to promote more infrastructure growth in the district,”she said.
ERB Southern Region senior Manager, Steven Mwinga disclosed that Zambia only had 270 filling stations out of which only 33 were located in Southern and Western Provinces.
Mr Mwinga said there was an urgent need to increase the number of filling stations in Southern and Western Provinces from the current 33 to over 50.
He called on investors to fully invest in the energy sector in order for them to reap the numerous benefits and opportunities that existed.
Caribbean Chicken proprietor and Chief Executive officer, Newton Silwenga appealed to Government and ERB to help integrate the illegal fuel vendors into cooperatives with funding from Government, to enable them contribute to the growth of the energy sector.
“As we think about developing new filling stations, let’s think about these people (illegal fuel vendors) so that we help integrate them in the mainstream. If we prioritise filling stations owned by foreigners, how are they going to benefit from that?
“That’s where we need to think about the cooperatives that Government is promoting, let the vendors come together and form a cooperative so that they set up their own filling station,” he said.