As the new dawn administration marks its second anniversary in office, the strides made in the Zambian energy sector are commendable. Dr. Johnstone Chikwanda, an energy expert, lauds the government’s efforts in steering Zambia towards cleaner energy sources and achieving significant milestones in the sector’s transformation.
One of the remarkable accomplishments under the new administration is the shift towards cleaner fuels. The banning of sulphur diesel within the country demonstrates the government’s commitment to public health and environmental sustainability. This transition not only safeguards citizens’ well-being but also contributes to a cleaner environment.
Dr. Chikwanda also acknowledges the successful conversion of the 1,710km transportation route from co-mingled feedstock to refined low sulphur diesel. This achievement marks a significant milestone in the administration’s cost reduction plan, fostering efficiency in the energy supply chain.
The government’s decision to maintain a 0% Customs Duty rate instead of the previous 25% is applauded as a protective measure against inflated fuel prices for consumers. This move translates to a waiver of approximately $300 million in potential revenue, highlighting the administration’s commitment to affordability.
The completion and commissioning of the remaining units at the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower without relying on external loans is another notable feat. Dr. Chikwanda recognizes this achievement as a demonstration of local resource mobilization for crucial energy projects.
Furthermore, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has witnessed a substantial increase in funding, with the allocation rising from K360 million in 2022 to K740 million in 2023. This boost in funding signifies the government’s dedication to expanding rural electrification efforts.
In a move towards decentralization, local communities are empowered to make decisions about electrification projects funded through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). This initiative brings decision-making power closer to the people, allowing them to determine priorities in their localities.
Notably, the government has entered into partnerships for renewable energy valued at over $7 billion. This strategic move shifts Zambia’s energy landscape towards diversified sources, positioning the country as a net energy exporter with the growing influx of new facilities.
While celebrating these commendable accomplishments, Dr. Chikwanda also sheds light on existing challenges. Lengthy and convoluted approval processes spanning multiple ministries pose a significant hurdle for the energy sector. Despite this obstacle, he remains optimistic that the government’s dedication to addressing these challenges will soon unlock stalled projects and expedite progress.