Chikwanda claims govt’s energy reforms good but faults cumbersome approval processes


Johnstone Chikwanda, a public affairs analyst, says reforms by the United Party for National Development (UPND) administration in the last two years have set the energy sector on a growth trajectory.

Chikwanda said in a statement on Monday that the government should be commended for shifting Zambia to the use of cleaner fuels just as he called for reforms in the license regime.

“As you may all be aware, sulphur diesel has been outlawed in the country and is not good for health and the environment,” he said.

Chikwanda said the successful conversion of the 1,710kilometre from transporting co-mingled feedstock to refined low sulphur diesel, was a significant milestone in the cost reduction plan.

He said it was encouraging that the government had maintained Customs Duty at zero percent instead of 25 percent aimed at protecting consumers from higher fuel pump prices.

To this end, Chikwanda said the government had waived about US$300million which could have been raised from consumers had this tax not been zero-rated.

Read more: Revision of electricity tariffs for the poor, fair deal, says energy expert, Chikwanda

“Another achievement that the new dawn administration has managed to score in its two years of being in office is the completion of the commissioning of the remaining units at the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower using locally raised resources without recourse to the loan with previous funders,” he said.

Chikwanda added that funding to Rural Electrification Authority (REA) had reached ‘unprecedented’ levels by doubling the previous allocation of K360 million in 2022 to K740 million in 2023.

He said the government further signed partnership agreements for renewable energy worth over $7 billion, which was completely changing the energy topography of the country by focusing on other forms of energy.

Chikwanda, however, said the biggest hurdle remained the lengthy and cumbersome approval processes in the energy sector which covered over three ministries and were embedded in the Laws of the land.

“I am optimistic that this hurdle would be overcome soon as the government is working on it so that stagnated projects can be unlocked,” he said.

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