INLAND electricity generation to reduce the 700 megawatts power deficit will affect the 2016 budget, says Energy and Water Development Minister Dora Siliya.
She said Government had no option but budget revenue to meet inland electricity generation.
Ms Siliya was speaking at a stakeholders meeting on promoting renewable energy sponsored by Tomorrow Investments in Lusaka.
“We are now talking about inland generation which is going to cost this country huge sums of money to be able to try and reduce this 700MW deficit in 2016; it is true that it is going to create a gap in our budget but we have to do that in order to mitigate the power crisis,” she said.
Ms Siliya said any crisis such as the current energy deficit presented an opportunity for the leadership and businesses to emerge and find alternative sources.
“Whenever there is a crisis, it presents an opportunity for leadership and business to emerge. We have seen the opportunity for us to find alternative sources of energy,” she said.
Ms Siliya said it was unfortunate that people kept talking about Zambia having too much sunlight for solar energy and yet Zambia did not have a proper solar plant.
“For a long time we have been talking about the potential that Zambia has but potential means nothing unless it becomes a reality. We do not have one proper solar plant and yet everyone is talking about Zambia having too much sun for solar energy,” she said.
Ms Siliya said Government had an opportunity to create jobs while addressing the energy crisis.
She encouraged local companies to take interest in investing in the energy sector while Government worked on reviewing and enhancing some of the legislation to make it easier for investors.
“Investors will come and go but we will be here and that is why I am convinced that a lasting solution to this crisis cannot be without Zambians.
“I am convinced that there must be opportunity what Government tries to address this problem, to also offer an opportunity to create jobs for citizens,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Energy director Oscar Kalumiana said tax waivers have been introduced in the importation of energy efficient equipment.
Mr Kalumiana said as an interim measure, the ministry had purchased emergency power expected to cover the period of September 2015 to December 2017.
And Tomorrow Investment public relations officer Mutale Mwamba said local contracting firms should be supported more because they were the best people to develop the country.
Mr Mwamba said renewable energy was what would guarantee progress for Zambia at the rate the energy sector was performing at the moment.