President Edgar Lungu has said the government will soon start imports of power from South Africa’s Eskom to mitigate electricity shortages as $14 million has so far been paid to that country’s utility.
And President Lungu says it is sad that some people made a joke out of his statement about devastating effects of climate change on Zambia.
He told journalists at State House during a press conference today that many countries in the world, including Zambia, are facing a myriad of challenges today due to the impact of climate change.
“It is unfortunate that the power deficit in the country has impacted heavily on household level. It is regretable that small-scale businessmen, whose businesses depend on electricity, have had to endure long hours without electricity to power their businesses. I feel for that barber who works hard to feed his family in mandevu, Lusaka; I feel for that young beautician in masala, ndola, whose salon business is critically affected because of loadshedding; what about that welder in chiwempala, chingola who has had to work in the night because that is when power returns,” President Lungu said.
“The lasting solution to the power deficit is more investment in renewable energy such as solar. To this effect, I expect zesco limited to finish the solar project by mid-next year. This 120 mega watt solar pv under the getfit programme has six 20 mega watt projects and they will reach commercial operation date in the third quarter of 2020. In the short term, however, my government has made a decision to import power from eskom of south africa. The initial requirement is to pay 44 million united states dollars of which 10 million united states dollars has already been paid. Next week, 14 million united states dollars will be paid and anytime soon therefafter, the rest of the amount will be settled.”
He said the imports were a stop-gap measure as the country waits for the coming on board of 750 mega watts of power from Kafue Gorge Lower in early march next year.
“The project is at 80 percent completion,” President Lungu said.
“Our experts, on the other hand, have predicted that the 2019/2020 rainy season will give us normal to above normal rain. This means that in 2020, we expect our hydro-power stations to revert to normal production. In addition, my government is scaling up power production from solar to mitigate the effects of climate change now and in future.”
He said interventions such as afforestation and reforestation, promotion of conservation farming and diversification of agriculture, are key in ensuring our environment is used in a sustainable way as we pursue our national developmental agenda.
“Going forward, I am directing the minister of lands and natural resources to draw up programmes to sensitise citizens on the importance of engaging in sustainable agriculture, and preservation of our forests to mitigate effects of climate change. Citizens must be encouraged to adopt tree-planting as a way of life to restore our natural forests,” President Lungu said.
“Further, the ministry is expected to draw up robust programmes aimed at combating indiscriminate cutting of trees throughout Zambia. Time to act is now, if nothing is done by ourselves now, I am afraid we are condeming future generations to even harsher climate change effects, and posterity will judge us harshly.”
He recalled his statement to parliament in September when he warned about effects of climate change.
“On 13th september, 2019 when I told parliament about the devastating effects of climate change and how it was going to impact on our lives, some people made a joke out of it. Two months later today, the country has felt the full import of climate change.
In my september speech, I said; ‘Climate change is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The inability to have adequate water, generate enough
Power, grow enough food to feed our people, have all been greatly caused by the effects of climate change.’ We all seriously need to understand and begin to appreciate this in
Detail and stop pointing fingers at each other for failure to Grow our economy at the desired pace,” President Lungu said.
“My words still ring true to this very day. What we should not entertain today are lamentations of yesteryear about who did what or did not do what; rather what we should entertain today is innovation for today and the future. They say necessity is the mother of invention.”