Cabinet has approved that the Ministry of Energy should allow Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that are ready to start producing Anhydrous Ethanol to undertake a six month pilot ethanol blending programme.
Chief Government Spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, said that Cabinet had taken the decision as a way to cushion the country against fluctuations in the international oil prices so as to enhance security of supply of fuel.
Mweetwa who is also Information and Media Minister, said this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday.
Cabinet, he said, noted that with the increasing population, there was need to put in place measures and interventions to meet the future demand.
“Currently, the country imports all its petroleum products which poses challenges such as fluctuations in international oil prices, exchange rate of the currency and overdependence on imported petroleum products,” Mweetwa said.
He said as such, bio-ethanol blending would assist in resolving some of these challenges faced by the country.
Mweetwa noted that once Zambia started blending, it was expected that there would be reduction in fuel prices.
“Cabinet also approved in principle the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Investment, Trade and Business Development Act No.18 of 2022,” he said.
Mweetwa said this was in order to change the definition of rural area to a more encompassing definition that would promote rural industrialisation and accelerate economic growth.
He said the definition of rural area in the Investment, Trade and Business Development Act No.18 of 2022, was inadequate in its definition of rural area.
“Therefore, in order to promote rural industrialisation and to help develop most Municipal Councils which are still struggling with development, there is need to change the definition of rural area in the Investment, Trade and Business Development Act by assigning it a meaning in the Customs and Excise Act which is broader,” Mweetwa said.
He argued that the amendment of the definition for rural area would result in the increase in the number of rural districts covered under the incentive structure for trade and investment, thereby promoting trade and investment across the country.
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