THE oil deal between Zambia and Angola was initiated and executed by President Michael Sata and not President Edgar Lungu, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma has revealed.
President Sata wanted a source of oil that would cut out the numerous middlemen that were escalating the landing cost of fuel.
Yesterday, Basali Ba Liseli Resources (BBLR) said President Edgar Lungu did not facilitate the procurement of a government-to-government oil deal between Zambia and Angola.
Mr. Yaluma who expressed deep concern about the kind of reporting by the Post Newspapers , said some information was being twisted and left out in order to suit the media house’s agenda.
He said President Lungu was not part to the Angola oil government to government agreement.
Mr Yaluma said from the time the Patriotic Front formed Government, President Sata wanted to find a source where government would procure oil cheaply without incorporating middlemen.
“We have been talking to Angola for some time now. I was the one who initiated the interest into Angola when His Excellency Michael Chilufya Sata gave us a green light to go to Angola for that purpose and to put up teams.
“ Issues to do with cheaper oil did not start with President Edgar Lungu but started with President Michael Sata and he is the one who sent me to Angola to open discussions. This did not start now, it started with late President Sata and before his death we went a long distance . We are talking to Angola, we are talking to Emirates and the words being put in the papers, it is not the way I know it myself as the Minister responsible for the Ministry,” said Mr. Yaluma.
He said distorted reports by some newspapers were denting the image of government and putting the relationship between Angola and Zambia in question.
“I will tell you one thing, you see what is being reported is not the true stance of government as it is now, the government has been on its toes to look for a favourable deal in the oil chain supply or procurement in a government to government deal for some time now from any nation producing oil. And we are talking to any nation producing oil but what is coming out of these stories by the Post I don’t know what they are talking about. I will be the first person to come and tell you that we are going this route,” explained Mr. Yaluma.
Mr. Yaluma said it was not wrong for the Zambian Government to procure cheap and affordable oil, adding that it was what Government was looking for in order to cut on expenses.
He said the Zambian Government was not only talking to Angola, but also to Emirates and Oman oil companies in the Middle East in order to benefit Zambians.
“It was not wrong for any government to procure cheap and affordable oil, in fact bear with me that is what we are looking for. We are looking to multiple sources so that we can get a better deal,” he said.
He explained that the deal under discussion was not corrupt as some individuals wanted to paint it, adding that it was the cleanest oil deal the nation has ever opened to discussions.
Mr. Yaluma said a Government to Government oil deal would get rid of middlemen and all miscellaneous costs which were in the procurement process.
‘We have in the past dealt with 13 middlemen in between a single supply of fuel and they were all paid, I did an exercise in 2011 and 2012 and we tried to get rid of those because it was disastrous to the coffers of the Zambian government. But you see, the main reason why we want to go to government to government deal is to get rid of these unnecessary costs in the procurement chain of fuel and the benefits will go to the people of Zambia,” said Mr. Yaluma.