THE European Union (EU) and the Government have signed a 40 million euro grant aimed at unlocking the country’s power generating potential and addressing the current power shortage as well as to enhance private sector investment.
Ambassador of the EU to Zambia and COMESA Alessandro Mariani said that the energy sector was important for the country’s economic development and the welling of citizens stating that Zambia was endowed with renewable resources that could not only satisfy its energy demand but also make it (Zambia) a paramount exporter in the years to come.
The signing of the grant which is being financed from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union ( ACP-EU) dubbed “Support to the Zambian Energy Sector: Increased access to Electricity and Renewable Energy Production” took place yesterday at Lusaka’s Taj Pamodzi hotel and was signed by Mr Mariani and Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba.
The EU representative said that it was an ambitious and comprehensive energy development programme whose overall objective was to increase access to clean, reliable and affordable energy and to promote energy production and efficiency.
“It is an ambitious and comprehensive energy development programme whose overall objective is to increase access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy and to promote renewable production and energy efficiency in Zambia,” he said.
Mr Mariani affirmed that President Edgar Lungu’s participation in the framework of the United Nations (UN) twenty-second climate Conference of the Parties, COP22 confirmed that cooperating partners were ready to work with the Government of Zambia in its efforts to modernize the energy services for citizens particularly those in rural areas and businesses.
Speaking at the same event Finance Minister Felix Mutati said that in order to ensure meaningful and sustainable developments in the energy sector the attainment of cost reflective electricity tariffs was an incentive for investments hence the ministry of energy was working closely with ZESCO and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to ensure a gradual migration plan for electricity tariffs to cost reflectivity in the short term possible.
Mr Mutati said that it was envisioned that going forward all increments of the electricity traffics would be informed by the cost of service study which was expected to be completed by 2017.