With the elections and the eventual petition now behind us, the onus is now on the Patriotic Front to translate the confidence the Zambian people have given them into a developed Zambia where everyone will be able to participate in the economy. President Lungu should be mindful in selecting a team that will help him deliver as this will be elemental for the success of his 5-year term. He shouldn’t feel obliged to reward people with ministerial positions at the expense of expertise and performance.
One of the challenges that Zambia has faced is a lack of investment in power generation infrastructure to match the ever increasing demand for electricity. On the petroleum side, we have for many years now paid extra on crude imports as a result of special feed to our old refinery. It is time will start intensive lobbying for a new modern refinery that will make our oil procurement cost effective and translate the corresponding cost reductions into low priced finished petroleum products thereby reducing the cost of doing business and putting more money into people’s pockets.
We need someone at the helm of the ministry of energy with matching expertise and vast experience in the energy sector. This will be a faster means of removing barriers that have constricted flow of the much needed investments in infrastructure for power generation and transmission as well as the upgrade of the INDENI refinery and TAZAMA pipeline.
In this light, President Lungu should consider the new Kankoyo member of parliament for the minister of Energy position. Hon. Brian Mushimba may be inexperienced in politics but is not new in the Energy industry. Moreover, it is more of experience and expertise that Zambia needs at the ministry of Energy than politics. The country stands to benefit a lot from the new Kankoyo legislator from his vast experience in the power sector in different countries and portfolios.
The complex nature of the energy problems we face both in electricity generation and the petroleum sectors requires a holistic approach in devising solutions. We do not need to isolate ourselves. We need more than ever before to engage regional players and leverage economies of scale in our quest to improve our generation capacity and lower pump prices for petroleum products.
For instance, investment in a complex refinery requires a corresponding big market to be economically feasible. We therefore need someone that can engage neighbouring countries as well as use the available regional bodies in striking deals for preferential trading both in finished products of oil and electricity, this way we will attract the much needed investment.
Hon Mushimba’s vast experience in the power sector in America, South Africa and Uganda has built him enough contacts and I believe this will help him apply a systems perspective in dealing with the challenges in our energy sector. He also brings fresh energy and zeal.
Energy Engineering graduate from Linköping University