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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Socialist Party demands the Withdrawal of the Electricity Tariff Increase and Dissolution of ERB

Columns The Socialist Party demands the Withdrawal of the Electricity Tariff Increase and...

Socialist Party interim General Secretary Cosmas Dr Musumali
Socialist Party interim General Secretary Cosmas Dr Musumali

Dr Cosmas Musumali on behalf of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party.

As it was expected, President Edgar Lungu’s government provided Zambians a toxic and painful New-year present: An increase in fuel prices by 10% as well as in electricity tariffs by 22% and 49% for domestic and commercial consumers respectively.

We foresaw it, we previously alluded to it, but much more significantly, we had warned against such a decision! Apparently, our well-meant advice continues to fall on deaf ears. As a result, the PF government is dragging Zambia into a calamity where public debt, currency depreciation, a failed food production system and energy crisis are combining to destroy millions of livelihoods. In the midst of all this, sheer incompetency and deep-rooted corruption make solutions seem impossible.

The drastic increases in electricity tariffs are supposed to help ZESCO operate efficiently and viably! The fact however remains that ZESCO is a political cashcow. The Petty-bourgeois political leadership of this country has continued to abuse this institution for decades. The privatisation of many other parastatals under the MMD government in the 1990s left ZESCO as a lone cash-cower. With elections coming in 2021, no serious transformation will be undertaken to change the status quo.

The Socialist Party also notes that the mining sector that consumes the biggest share of electricity, 50.9%, will continue paying the low tariffs it has continued to enjoy for years! It has been exempted from this tariff increase. It is impossible to tackle ZESCO’s economic woes, without addressing the pervasive arrangement and faulty logic underlying bulk purchasing.

The 49% commercial tariff increase will hurt business activities. This is especially the case for small-scale businesses that were on the verge of collapse due to erratic power supply. However, the commercial sector consumes only about 14% of the generated power but has, since 2015, continued to increase its installed self-generation capacity. It is the biggest buyer of voltage regulators, capacitors, power surge factor units, generators and off-grid solar plants. It has found ways of insulating itself from total collapse. It will also ultimately pass on the extra cost to the final consumer – adding to the inflationary pressures of the Zambian masses.

The domestic consumer of electricity is the biggest loser and victim of the tariff increase. A 200% increase is massive and immoral given all other economic constraints the Zambian masses are facing. It is apparent that President Edgar Lungu is choosing to protect the profit interests of the mines above the welfare and livelihoods of the Zambian masses.

If the aim of this decision is to send a signal message to the IMF and other donors that have insisted on economic viable tariffs, then it is far from achieving that objective – without drastic organisational changes to ZESCO and the faulty arrangements with the mines. If it is about attracting more foreign direct investment in the energy sector, then it is equally naïve. There is more to the creation of the requisite economic and legal environment than lopsided tarrif adjustments – the operators of Maamba Collieries can offer generous advice based on their experiences. It’s a shameful lesson in incompetency and arrogance of our policy makers.

The Socialist Party therefore demands the following:

1. An immediate withdrawal of the electricity tariff increase.
2. Dissolution of the ERB Board.
3. Postponement of tariff adjustments pending the completion of the proposed “cost of service study” that would help ascertain the real cost of producing power and the determination of appropriate tariffs.
4. Inclusion of the Mining sector in tariff adjustments.

Issued by:
Dr Cosmas Musumali on behalf of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Yaba!! I thought that Dr Mmembe’s party consists of researchers, now look at this hogwash! Did Dr Mmembe clear this statement or it is a similar case to Chanda Kasolo and Bishop Chomba in a party where sanity has become rare, questionable, and punishable? Ask Chanda Kasolo and his brother what happens to sane people.

    That is why our Lord has granted my prayer to remove all the current politicians ruling and opposition, disinfect Zambia of the stench of trible and corrupt politicians and install a new crop of dedicated fresh smelling leaders.

    • Thinking with my heart, it would seem that this chap is making sense but I will choose to use my brain.
      Let PF taste their own poison.
      6 months down the line people will judge them.
      They will learn to stop experimenting with the people or they will be smiling having fixed the problems.

  2. I wonder how such parties call themselves parties yet they are not involved in grassroot governance systems. SP has no ward chairmen, councillors or mps. They are active in the media only. The problem in Zambia is we don’t treat party activity with seriousness where we scrutinise these politicians at that level-if elected THEY BECOME LEADERS AND GRZ OFFICIALS!!! eg upnd has trashed its constitution to keep hh in power, Nawakwi has done the same with FDD, yet we entertain them and if they get into GRZ and abrogate laws we cry??? Let’s be serious people.

  3. A person with a PHD should do some research. For example is it true that ZESCO buys electricity at 10 cents a unit and sells it at 10 cents a unit to the mines and at less than five cents a unit to domestic consumers. If true this is UNSUSTAINABLE. Time for free mealie meal coupons which led to the collapse of the Zambian economy are long gone.

  4. Cadres you are getting free money from lungu that you didn’t work for. Social media is full of you guys playing with money and praising lungu don’t think everyone is fortunate like you. The questions we should be asking is where is the money Zesco makes going to, also billions in loans where has it gone to. We know you bought cheap Chinese turbines which are failing now you want people to pay for your failures and incompetence. Lungu needs to go so we can have someone serious about fixing our problems instead of excuses and blame games pf plays

  5. … the mining sector that consumes the biggest share of electricity, 50.9%, will continue paying the low tariffs it has continued to enjoy for years! It has been exempted from this tariff increase. SO MINES ARE INSULATED

  6. Those demands can never be met.What he is saying does not make sense.All he
    should have asked is the timing of increment and the percentage increment.
    Let him go and study business and economics.

  7. Are these boys still living in 1970s nostalgia? Socialism was tried and tested in Africa and failed lamentably. Doing the same failed thing and expecting positive results is a sign of being demented. The zambian people are not gullible to fall for such hogwash. They know that our achievements as a party have improved their livelihoods and that is why ECL is winning again in 2021. I can lose a position but never an election. Kz

    • LT can you please ban this time waster from blogging with us, his scared government cant allow opposition parties to share their ideas using freedom of assembly, why then allow him to disseminate here. He is wasting time blogging instead of going to sit with his lamentable failed boss and mapping out revival of the economy which they have really messed up. We need MMD back and we need to apologise to them. PF hoodwinked us, how can you have the 3rd worst performing currency in the world and you allow the chap who was a defacto leader to blogg here.

  8. Zambians, wake up. looking at the blogging of these failures, they might scheme ways of coming back to power, with of course everybody asking, to come and do what? Be on the look out please. Pathetic Failures are living in their own world and very STRANGELY, they think they are working. Kuya bebele, ati bebele ati kuya

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