Thursday, July 25, 2024

Energy Minister justifies ZESCO’s importation of poles

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Energy Minister Peter Chibwe Kapala says ZESCO will buy poles, associated electric materials and equipment from international and primary sources and not from middlemen.

He says ZESCO is being driven by the urgent need to dismantle the backlog of 60,000 customers pending connections by end of the year.

He has admitted that the approach to buy from South African and Zimbabwean primary sources may inadvertently disadvantage local entrepreneurs, middlemen and enterprises.

He says this is because ZESCO will not participate in political or empowerment schemes of growing local businesses. He says that ZESCO will also not be available to be used to meet political objectives.

He says buying poles from abroad will serve trees in Zambia and mitigate against climate change.

Below is MR. Kapala’s statement

AVOIDING MIDDLE-MEN IN PROCUREMENT IN THE ENERGY SECTOR

The New Dawn government is committed to ensuring universal access (100% coverage) to electricity for our people. To achieve this goal by 2030, ZESCO and the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) have to double their efforts in connecting people to the national grid and mini-grids. This means dismantling the backlog of connection applications that have been pending and building up for years.

Even though we need more power generation to cater for future demand and even new connections, the current installed capacity is adequate in the short term. The areas that need urgent attention and work in the short and medium term are the transmission and distribution of electricity to the end user.

Our plan is that all 60,000 pending connections have to be cleared by ZESCO by the end of this year. This means that ZESCO needs to have all materials needed to make this happen. The national power utility is therefore in the process of procuring treated poles, insulators, earthing materials, cross arms, transformers, cables, etc so that when our people apply for connections they are not simply placed on a waiting list but are connected upon paying the fees and meeting all conditions as per guidelines. Based on the ever-rising numbers of pending connections necessitated by years of no or few connections being made, the quantities of poles and other materials to be procured will be very high. This effort to procure these materials will cost a lot of money and it is prudent for ZESCO and REA to procure their materials – including treated poles – from manufacturers and primary sources as opposed to getting them from middle men, whether Zambian or not. In procuring from the source, ZESCO may be seen not to be empowering the Zambian middle-men and not helping these to increase their entrepreneurial capacity. However, the strategic objective here is not to grow Zambian businesses through ZESCO procurement but to connect as many Zambians as possible through the efficient and effective use of the budget available for this exercise by buying materials, equipment and tools at factory costs. The New dawn Government believes that ZESCO has to stick to its core-business and not being used to meet political objectives. Our government will ensure that politics remain in the political arena.

The long term gain from this approach is a serious reduction in cutting down of trees for making charcoal and hence the slowing down of deforestation in Zambia at a time we are facing effects of climate change. This effort will reduce dependence on charcoal and also speed up the economy as many business premises that have been awaiting power connections will come online and start contributing to the GDP in earnest.

Further, my office is also working with other arms of government to see how best to respond to the new world order that has changed the way the petroleum products are now being bought and marketed. Whereas we are not going back to subsidies in the face of increased international prices of oil products, we plan to do bulk buying from June 2022 onwards. Government will work to ensure that we accurately calculate the shipping costs, mark-up on transport, and other costs to get the pump price and avoid the end-user having to pay even higher costs. The full details and modalities of how we shall work with the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and how we shall package these bulk purchases will be communicated to stakeholders and the public as we approach the month of June this year. Suffice to mention that the policy direction remains that INDENI will become an OMC to manage, among other things, government fuel depots, blend fuel, undertake fuel marking and possibly produce ethanol to be used in blending and in the manufacturer of medicines. It will not be used for bulk crude oil purchasing and processing.

As part of the reforms in the energy sector, we commit ourselves to ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the supply chain. Lastly, we shall continue to work towards having large storage capacity for oil products to always ensure we can withstand shocks when unforeseen circumstances lead to disruption in the supply chain.

Good afternoon.

Hon. Eng. Peter BB Chibwe Kapala
Minister of Energy
30. 03. 2022

54 COMMENTS

    • Very much so. He says buying poles from abroad will serve trees in Zambia and mitigate against climate change.

  1. I disagree with Deja Vu. This explanation is very well done. Granted, we would all hope that local contractors win these tenders, but awarding contracts to companies that can’t supply should be long gone.
    Let’s consider how previously, we gave contracts to shop owners to build roads all in the name of empowering local contractors.
    My only hope is that there is implementation going forward, and not NATO; No Action, Talk Only.

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  2. Good call Zesco. Finally some sanity. I have been waiting for my connection since 2019. My Chinese neighbors where already connected within a month after they started building while my house was completed a year before them & still dont have electricity. PF govt was just shambles. I hope I will get connected before end of the year as promised.

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  3. What a load of c.r.a.p. Getting trees from Zimbabwe has no effect on climate change? No not in Zambia, but we shift it to our neighbours! Nice move! By the way, I am sure we can’t produce any poles, because all trees have been turned into charcoal. This Minister is NOT up to the job and must be replaced. With him only more loadshedding!

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  4. Well done Zesco and forget about the PF tenderpreneurs who bankrupted the economy by over-charging Zesco. Zaffico is doesn’t hv the poles at the moment and Zesco cannot wait until their trees are ready.

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  5. #2 Zaficco have pole treatment plant on the Sabina road near Kitwe so hasn’t this minister made mention of it? Say like why they can’t use it? The plant was set in order to get rid of importation. Right now there poles lying about in the yard. Read his lips. If trees in Zimbabwe are finished will climate change not affect us. Again I say read his lip.

  6. @Deja Vu, the question remains, the expression of interest was availed, and the companies that could supply the quantities required happened to be foreign.
    We also have Nitrogen chemicals in Zambia yet we import fertilizer. If we are to follow your argument about ZAFFICO.

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  7. Our parastatals have been established to contribute to political objectives of contributing to national economical objectives. Parastatal like Zesco needs to spearhead empowerment of local companies by capacitating local suppliers, contractors and (youth) empowerment. HH needs to whip ministers like this in line, otherwise if this goes ahead, it will be seen as an endorsement by HH or UPND Governance to favor foreign companies at the expense of local one

    We have been crying about Local empowerment and hence one can not imagine a Minister even defending this nonsense with silly excuses

  8. #10 I still want to know why no reference has been made of this plant. By the way what can stop someone from arranging for a cut with those foreign companies? Let’s wait and see

  9. This is a strong policy statement that requires to be deeply examined closely with facts and data. Is there a reason ZAFFICO and Copperbelt Forestry Company haven’t been shortlisted because they’re local primary producers of poles. Besides ZAFFICO is 100% owned by GRZ. In the long-term what would be prudent is for Zesco to invest in the production of these poles, however, that would be too much a burden on the already overloaded Management. This is why I think that Zesco should only remain with the generation and bulk power supply portfolio while the marketing & distribution function should revert to local authorities like it were during Sir Roy Welensky’s time. If he did it I don’t know why it can fail this time around. We just need to build the capacity of local authorities

  10. #13 Ayatolla. What you have said is what is right. Zimbabwe is the most corrupt country in our region so it’s very possible corruption is at play. We need every dollar but here were are wasting it on pieces of wood.

  11. Just like that – the minister has justified why Zambians should remain in poverty while foreigners cash-in on the opportunities. That is the new dawn for you justifying unemployment locally but busy creating it outside. It seems the policies of the current government are disjointed. On one hand singing about empowering locals while busy giving opportunities to foreigners on the other. So on what opportunities should Zambians be brought on board if such tenders of treated timber can be given to foreigners?

  12. Makes sense. Zaffico does not have capacity to supply this. Why engahe middle men to import and make the product more expensive

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  13. Makes sense. Zaffico does not have capacity to supply this. Why engage middle men to import and make the product more expensive

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  14. I can now confirm that HH has zero clue on what he is doing.

    So if our neighbouring countries lose all their trees, as long as Zambia does not lose theirs, its all good for climate change? Really?

    Do they have any educated folks in this government full of conmen?

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  15. Zaffico has no capacity? My foot. With all the trees all over the country they have no capacity? Make them have that capacity instead of wasting our hard earned dollars paying your election campaigns funders

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  16. @Deja Vu, this won’t be a solution in as far as it concerns climate change. I disagree with that part of the minister’s speech, perhaps he said it to try and find another justification as opposed to the economic reason behind the decision.
    He stresses that they need these poles now and begin clearing the backlog in order to begin the supply of electricity.
    ZAFFICO should have trees, but they cannot supply the required amount now. Also, take into consideration that trees have to be cut down, dried and treated before they are ready for use, it’s not as easy as you make it seem.

  17. #19  IndigoTyrol 
    March 31, 2022 At 10:27 am

    “So if our neighbouring countries lose all their trees, as long as Zambia does not lose theirs, its all good for climate change? Really?…….”

    Our neighbours have mature plantations for wood products……….

    What the minister is saying is , the current back log of 60, 000 families waiting for electricity are using malasha to cook, ……

    If the connections are speeded up , that will be 60,000 lots of malasha used per day…….

  18. It takes at least 10 years to for cultivated wood forests to mature for wood products………

    This has to be a well managed continous exercise…………..

    I dought ZAFICO has been up to it………..

    The trees that are needed today should have been planted some 10 to 15 years ago………..in a continous cycle.

    Tanzania is very good at this. One sees the mature pine forests on the drive from Dar to nakonde……..

  19. #22  Spaka 
    March 31, 2022 At 11:06 am

    #19  IndigoTyrol 
    March 31, 2022 At 10:27 am

    “So if our neighbouring countries lose all their trees, as long as Zambia does not lose theirs, its all good for climate change? Really?…….”

    What the minister is saying is , the current back log of 60, 000 families waiting for electricity are using malasha to cook, ……

    If the connections are speeded up , that will be more than 60,000 less lots of malasha used to cook per day…….

    That is a lot of trees in 1 year saved……..

  20. Ba Kapala, there is no harm in consulting; the climate change in Zim is as good as ours. In fact as Zesco, let`s manage climate change by planting trees country wide. Plse note that the Zambian economy can only grow if the SME in Zambia are evolved. Do not issue these statements haphazardly.

  21. Zambian journalists now need to prode ZAFICO ,……………

    as to why they are not ready to supply ZESCO with the poles………….

    Looks like ZAFICO is using the land under them earmarked for wood products to prospect for minerals instead…………

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  22. Very well balanced response Mr minister.

    Cut out the middle men , who only added to the cost and where going to import from the same sources in any case………..

    Those complaining should be demanding an explanation from ZAFICO as to why they can’t supply the poles…………..

    ZAFICO are more intrested in miniral exploration and selling off the thir land earmarked for wood products…………

    If no explanation is given by ZAFICO……….

    sack the whole management team………

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  23. Spaka – Where has ZAFFICO Management sold land? Why has it not been given capacity to compete for such tenders? You are not adding value into the economy by importing from a Zim or RSA manufacturer…the money won’t trickle down from haulage, tax to employment. ZESCO isn’t a private company it should work with ZAFFICO.

  24. Other than planting and cutting trees what other value added services does ZAFFICO provide?
    Utility poles have to be subjected to kiln drying as well as being steamed or Boultonized in a long pressurized cylinder, also called a retort.The retort is pressurized and the preservative is heated to 180 degrees to 220 degrees F. The final process involves the Infusing of the Preservatives.
    This is not stuff that ZAFFICO can learn overnight.
    Instead of building those oversized humps around Lusaka, the PF should have invested the money to upgrade ZAFFICO’s operations. Now the country is stuck with the huge debt the PF left behind.

  25. Initially,Mr bright,what is 1+1=?,…..it is 2. Later,Mr bright, what is 1+1=?oooh it is 3. Mr bright,do you mean………………….?

  26. Always remember, they give consideration to their businesses whenever they make a decision. While they enrich their businesses, we advise that they should also consider manufacturing hollow reinforced concrete poles using mine tailings, slime, coal fly ash and waste rock all lying about in Copperbelt. Achievements; heavy metal leaching and mine acid drainage will be negligible as the poles will be scattered over a large area and also due to cement/fly ash binding, concrete poles are long lasting, best way to protect forest, it is an effective and environment friendly way of disposals of mine waste, if put in place, it will be a manufacturing industry and will allow us to continuously improve on the quality of poles.

  27. #28  Tarino Orange 
    March 31, 2022 At 11:48 am

    “Spaka – Where has ZAFFICO Management sold land? Why has it not been given capacity to compete for such tenders? You are not adding value into the economy by importing from a Zim or RSA manufacturer…the money won’t trickle down from haulage, tax to employment. ZESCO isn’t a private company it should work with ZAFFICO….”

    That is why ZAFICO should come out and tell us why they are not competing for these tenders ????

    Did you not hear about the Chinese demarcating ZAFICO land ???

    IMO if ZAFICO can not come up with a satisfactory explanation as to why poles have to be imported………..

    Sack the management………….

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  28. ZESCO has given a clear position as to why they are importing poles…………

    Focus should now be in why ZAFICO has failed to deliver…………

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  29. All this is a ruse … sixty thousand poles, environmental issues… it’s a ruse. Someone has already cut a deal. Those supporting uyu Kapala should stick to their guns should they discover it is just a business deal for someone.

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  30. This is signs of a properly managed system of governance………….

    Cracks and shortfalls begin to show……….

    Instead of political master.bating and empowering caders as Middle men , ZESCO are forced to reveal they are importing poles while we have ZAFICO………..

    Now ZAFICO have to explain why they are not delivering………..

    Accountability dadala……….

  31. #36  Deja Vu
     March 31, 2022 At 1:24 pm

    “All this is a ruse … sixty thousand poles, environmental issues… it’s a ruse. Someone has already cut a deal. Those supporting uyu Kapala should stick to their guns should they discover it is just a business deal for someone….”

    Do you know how much trees are used for cooking to support those on the waiting list for electricity ??????

    Let the zambian producers of poles come and tell us jow they have been overlooked ????, no.

  32. #38 I have been to the Pole treatment plant on the Sabina road and I feel you can easily get those sixty thousand poles. Wait for the price of the Zimbabwe poles maybe you will understand why I didn’t agree with Kapala.

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  33. #38 I have been to the Pole treatment plant on the Sabina road and I feel you can easily get those sixty thousand poles. Wait for the price of the Zimbabwe poles maybe you will understand why I didn’t agree with Kapala. The only reason would be that the so-called middle men may have connections with PF ( which I can say was wrong if they were importing instead using zaffico plant).

  34. #40

    We await ZAFICO to tell us that Zambian producers of poles have been overlooked in the supply of over 60,000 poles…………

    Which will never happen because there are no current Zambian producers……….

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  35. So Zesco intends to connect 60,000 new customers. Guess what that will do to the capacity of the grid? With the ever decreasing levels in Lake Kariba and these new customers, loadshedding is getting closer all the time

  36. If we can get them for next to nothing due to the devaluation of the Zim dollar then why not? Zimbabweans are much more hard working than their counterparts anyway. As long as quality is not compromised then gulani chabe!

  37. It sounds to me that there a few of our compatriots who have an axe to grind with Zimbabwe. In fact some sort of hatred for our neighbourly brothers on the other side of the river. Firstly I do not see anything wrong in dealing with Zimbabwean companies, none whatsoever. There is a lot of Zimbabwean companies doing business in Zambia and thats ok. What is not OK is us Zambians not challenging ourselves enough to position ourselves to do business in and with other countries, say South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana etc. My fellow Zedians lets go beyond being chicken run and lodge owners to become industrialists. Zimbabwe is clearly on the rebound, just from yesterday Victoria Falls now has direct flights to Frankfurt by a German airline yet Zimbabwe was like out of the game for 20 years and…

  38. #46 Personally I don’t have an axe to grind with any country especially Zimbabwe. Someone has said that how can you grow your economy if start to import even things that you can manufature? I mentioned above that plant I am referring to was established for the reason saving on our forex and ensure quick delivery. I tell you someone has got vested interest in this deal. Just wait. Recently it reported that the Zesco newly appointed MD had authorised himself a 2.4million Kwacha loan.

  39. And you think those bidding from SA and Zim are the source? They could also be middle men. You will simply enrich the source and their citizens, the middle men in same countries. Just a note, UPND has been painting middle-men red. Not all middle men are expensive because they have negotiated better prices and have a huge customer base to benefit from volume discounts from the source. Don’t think that the ills of any incompetent government are a result of the middle man. Your governance can fail despite buying from the source. What then will be your excuse?

  40. #49 Good point..yes is Mr Kapala going to confirm that he’s dealing with the real source and by what means?

  41. Promoting Zambian goods and services should not just end at speech reading …you have to implement it and where Zambian firms have not the capacity, the foreign firm has to work with the local firm that’s how you create employment. How can you take pride giving contracts to foreigners when the only employment ZAFFICO is creating are seasonal casual work. You wonder where the unions are in Zambia

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