Categories: Editor's Picks

Six hours load shedding may affect attainment of 4% growth target – Economist

• The impact is likely to see a drop in economic activities and impact adversely on incomes of households.
• There is need to have deliberate measures such as promotion of alternative energy sources such as solar energy.
• Include tax exemption on importation of the items including other equipment such as industrial and domestic Gensets.

An Economist says effecting six hours of load shedding in a day may compromise Zambia’s achievement of set 4% growth target in the medium term.
Speaking to Money FM News, Emmanuel Zulu said six hours of load management is very worrying for an economy that is taking off from negative effects of Covid-19 and economic downturn which saw growth at its lowest of 2.8%.
Mr. Zulu explained that this is likely to see a drop in economic activities and impact negatively on household incomes, which will in turn affect production especially for entrepreneurs.
“With hope of continuation on a positive trajectory on economic growth, production remains at the centre of solutions. The development on effecting of 6 hours of load shedding in a day by our power utility company poses a risk that may compromise the achievement of set 4% target in the medium term.”
“The impact is likely to see a drop in economic activities and impact adversely on incomes of households as this will negatively affect production more especially for entrepreneurs in the MSME category such as welding, saloons, barbershops, restaurants and many other energy fed businesses by our power utility company,” Mr. Zulu noted.
He further noted that the current recorded growth of slightly above 3% is to a large extent underpinned on the 3,456.8 Megawatts power generation capacity which is mostly hydro generated, recorded in the recent past against a peak national demand of approximately 2,300 Megawatts in the country.
“This reveals a surplus of over 1100 Megawatts which mostly satisfies our export market. We have been advancing an agenda for growth in the manufacturing sector to grow production and create jobs as well as strengthen our currency. However, we seem not to have been comprehensive in our approach to achieving industrial growth.
“We have been talking about climate change and global warming for a long time but it seems implementation of the solutions to alternative sources of energy away from hydro sources remains a mare notebook fill up,” he stated.
Mr. Zulu also stressed the need for government to introduce tax exemption on importation of solar equipment such as industrial and domestic Gensets as well as gas stoves in order to make them affordable and available on the market so as to promote alternative energy sources.
“It’s imperative that as we endeavour to still meet our economic growth targets amidst the pronounced load shedding development, we should have deliberate measures such as promotion of alternative energy sources such as solar energy by making solar equipment affordable and available on the market.”
“Other immediate measures could include tax exemption on importation of these items including other equipment such as industrial and domestic Gensets as well as gas stoves,” Mr. Zulu added.
According to the 2021 Cost of Service Study report, Zambia will require a total of US$ 14 billion worth of investment to meet the projected demand of electricity by 2040.
US$ 9.4 billion of the investment is for generation, US$ 2.7 billion for transmission and US$ 1.9 billion for distribution.
On Friday last week, Energy Minister Peter Kapala announced that ZESCO is expected to implement a load management regime of up to 6 hours daily from15th December, 2022, following the decrease in water levels at Lake Kariba.
Mr. Kapala told Parliament in a ministerial statement that the load management regime is aimed at rationing power generation at the Kariba Complex to avoid a complete shutdown.

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