20 January 2014, Lusaka – The Zambian government attaches great importance to power generation as evidenced by new projects worth US$6.5 billion which are in the pipeline that are aimed at improving access to electricity nationwide.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Siazongo Siakalenge said the new projects that are being promoted by both the public and private companies are an indication that Government’s efforts to expand generation capacity were bearing fruit.
Making a submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour, Mr Siakalenge said the Government was committed and continues to improve the investment environment in the electricity sub sector.
“This is evident in the work of the Rural Electrification Authority and the Office for Promoting Private Power Investments (OPPPI) which interfaces directly with investors for private sector hydropower projects,” he said.
Mr Siakalenge said Government needs to continue promoting significant private investment into the sector for energy generation and transmission.
He said the energy sector growth would result in significant job creation for Zambians both directly through the new jobs in power plants and indirectly through improved efficiency in other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
Mr Siakalenge said such a move would facilitate rural development particularly in areas which are further away from the national grid.
“Government needs to fully exploit the opportunities that can be created through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework.
Leveraging public investments and private capital would speed up the pace at which the country’s power infrastructure was developed and made available country wide,” he said.
He said the status of generation and access to electricity should improve significantly in the next five years.
– Times of Zambia