I saw this article by Hon. Ngandu Magande; “Zambia Should Not Fear Privatising ZESCO”.
I wish to offer a different view.
You don’t need to privatise ZESCO in order to promote Independent Power Producers.
Investors in the sector can be invited without disrupting ZESCO operations.
We made mistakes in the 90s where we gave away state-owned enterprises instead of encouraging the private investors to set up their own.
ZESCO needs reforms;
- Depoliticise ZESCO.
- Halt the corruption and the leaks through the procurement process.
- Advertise all positions from senior managers to CEO to attract the best human resource to run the utility.
- Renegotiate immediately all unfair Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that are bleeding revenue off ZESCO of about $40million a month.
- Introduce wheeling charges on transmission or system infrastructure as charged by Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).
- Unbundling ZESCO may not be the only solution. With now experiences obtained from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. We can take the best approach to this process.
ZAMBIANS SHOULD NOT FEAR PRIVATISING ZESCO – MAGANDE
Zambians should not fear to privatise Zesco, says former Finance minister Ng’andu Magande.
Speaking with Daily Revelation, Magande said the restructuring of Zesco into three main components is something that should have been done a long time, saying he was part of a team that travelled to the United States of America to look into the same matter in 1994, then as president of the Economic Association of Zambia.
He said by coincidence the team he was with found that there was a blackou in the whole of the western USA, and therefore it was easy for them to diagnose where the problem was coming from, saying they came back from that trip with a conclusion that they needed to unbundle Zesco.
Magande said the restructuring into generation, transmission and distribution would attract private enterprise into the market, as well as people having a choice in terms of who should supply them with the energy.
“That’s why we should have done this a long time ago,” Magande said, adding that many were failing to enter into the market, where even if they produced they would need to sell to Zesco when Zesco is also a producer and supplier. “Many of us who have been outside we know, for instance in London there are many power suppliers; nuclear, hydro, solar and sell to different distributors. In your home where you lived in Brazil you didn’t even know whether the power was imported or was locally produced.”
Asked that many were of the argument that government’s plan to restructure was actually aimed at finally privatising the company, Magande said: “But why are we scared about privatising? CEC was formed by technically competent Zambians.”
Magande said apart from supplying power to the mines on the Copperbelt, they were also doing the same to Congo and two states in Nigeria.
“If we have competent people, privatisation is not talking about foreigners but amongst ourselves,” he said.
Magande said if Zambians did not have money, the government should come in and help them with loans, saying there was nothing complicated in running some of these industries.
“If there is a group that wants to buy Lusiwashi power station, help the people get this money. The banks are awash with money right now…in the mining industry it’s the same. If there are Zambians who are interested we can even have Zambians start manganese mining in Mansa. If that’s the way government wants to go they will have proper cost benefit analysis,” he said.
But put to him that former late presidents Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa refused to privatise Zesco over arguments that one could not sell everything including their bedroom, and that he himself in a recent interview with Daily Revelation said… https://dailyrevelationzambia.com/zambians-should-not-fear-privatising-zesco-magande/
More @ www.dailyrevelationzambia.com