GOVERNMENT has given Zesco US$255 million from the US$750 million Eurobond to invest in power generation and distribution.
Of the US$255 million, US$30 million has been invested in the Itezhi-tezhi hydro-power station with an addition US$60 million expected to be invested in the same project.
Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Yamfwa Mukanga says Government is committed to ensuring that the country has reliable power supply to spur economic development.
“We [Government] have given Zesco US$255 million because Government wants to see how best Zesco will execute all these projects. We are together and we want to ensure that as a parent we provide for our children,” he said.
Mr Mukanga said this in Siavonga when he toured the Kariba North Bank hydro-power station on Thursday.
The minister said Zesco is on course by undertaking power generation projects and Government will ensure that the Kariba North Bank and Itezhi-tezhi power projects are completed within the planned time frame.
Mr Mukanga also said Government will ensure that Kafue Lower hydro-power project is completed when the Patriotic Front is still in power.
He said Government has been assisting the power utility firm and the proceeds from the sovereign bond is one of the assistance it has provided.
Mr Mukanga, who was happy with the progress made at the Kariba North Bank power station, however, said Zesco needs to prove to the country that it is capable of delivering quality service.
“You are doing a good job but the job is not good enough. You need to prove to the public that you can provide reliable energy.
People are in a hurry to have reliable energy to develop various economic projects,” he said.
He also said the institutions and members of the public should support efforts aimed at providing reliable power by ensuring that energy is conserved.
“We cannot have 1,000 bulbs on, at the same time, in the same place and expect to save power,” he said.
At the same occasion Zesco managing director Cyprian Chitundu said apart from the Eurobond proceeds, the power utility has also obtained finance from among other institutions, the World Bank, European Investment Bank and China Exim Bank to undertake power generation, transmission and distribution projects.
Mr Chitundu said the firm remains committed to undertake power projects as this is key in spurring economic development.
He said the power utility will also ensure that it saves on costs as it undertakes power projects developing existing power stations.
Zesco has spent US$ 80 million on the addition of 90 megawatts (MW) on Kafue Gorge power station when it would have spent US$270 million if it had developed a new project.
The firm has also spent US$420 million on the 360 MW Kariba North Bank extension project when the company could have spent more than US$1billion.
By: From KALONDE NYATI AND CLAVER MUTINTA in Siavonga
Date: 8 April 2013