BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
A REGIONAL electronic Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) is one of the immediate remedial response to Covid-19 in an effort to improve border transactions, says Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
CTMS was approved last year by the tripartite group to allow cross border road transport operators, drivers, regulators and law enforcement agencies to record and monitor driver wellness data such as Covid-19 test results.
COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe, said the Covid-19 pandemic had exposed the shortcomings of the African health infrastructure and the fragility of the transport sector.
Ms Kapwepwe therefore citied the CTMS as one of the immediate remedial response to the pandemic.
She said this in her address to the 12th join meeting conducted virtually for COMESA’s ministers of infrastructure.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of the African health infrastructure, the fragility of the transport sector (especially the aviation sector) and the vital role that ICT sector plays in sustaining economic and social activities during lockdowns and implementation of social distancing,” she said.
In her address, Ms Kapwepwe underscored the importance of infrastructure in protecting the economy and people’s lives.
And COMESA ministers of infrastructure urged mem-ber states to deploy regional ICT systems such as CTMS to enhance data and information sharing.
They believed that deploying such would improve regulation and progressively digitise border transactions and avoid paper-based transactions which are easy to falsify and are a Covid-19 vector.
Meanwhile, COMESA called on member states to scale up programmes to upgrade and maintain infrastructure facilities.In their 12th join meeting conducted virtually, the ministers of infrastructure also called for the adaptation and implementation of COMESA transit instruments to improve transport corridors efficiency.
According to the communique, the ministers responsible for Transport, Energy and Information, Communication Technology (ICT) acknowledged the huge infrastructure efficiency gap across the region as a pressing policy priority.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimated that the annual infrastructure funding gap was between US$68 billion and US$108 billion across the continent.
In their communiqué, the ministers invited Member States to take up the financing, technical assistance, and capacity building opportunities available under the Regional Infrastructure Finance Facility (RIFF) of the World Bank and other development partners to help address the gap.
Kariba North Bank resumes full supply
KETRA KALUNGA writes
MAINTENANCE works on Kariba North Bank (KNB) Power Station which led to Zesco Limited affecting a 15-day emergency load management last month after the generating unit developed a fault, have been completed.
And Zesco says the second stage of load management which was supposed to be im-plemented this month for 15 days would not take place following the resumption of full power supply at KNB power station.
Acting senior manager, corporate affairs, Hazel Zulu said in an interview that the maintenance works were completed two days before the stipulated 15 days and the generating unit is back on supply.
“We had said we would work on the machines at Kariba North Bank power station in 15 days but on the 12th day we had completed the work and we are back on full power supply,’’ she said.
Ms. Zulu explained that the second stage of 15-day load management which was supposed to be implemented this month would not take off because for now, maintenance works on the generating units at Kafue Gorge Upper (KGU) would not be undertaken.
She however said the nation would be notified when maintenance works on the generating units at Kafue Gorge Upper would be undertaken.
Zesco had announced that it would affect 15-day load management effective 10 May 2021 from 17:00 to 21:00 hours and would run for 15 days, whilst the second stage would be implemented in June 2021, for another 15 days.
Emergency maintenance works which were being carried out were urgent and could not be postponed as doing so would risk the safety of the generating units which might lead to severe damage to equipment and compromise the future available generation capacity to meet the system demand, the company said.
Lithuania, Zambia seek economic cooperation
THE Lithuanian government is seeking economic cooperation with Zambia in key sectors such as agriculture and food industry, ICT and Financial Technology.
The proposed economic corporation with Zambia further extends to sectors like life sciences, and talent-based entrepreneurial schemes for non-European Union businesses.
Lithuanian Ambassador to Sweden Giedrius Cekuolis has presented a draft copy of a proposed Memorandum of Understanding which will act as a Framework for economic corporation to Zambia’s Ambassador to Sweden Rose Salukatula in Stockholm.
The MoU is a culmination of discussions between Ms. Salukatula, who is accredited to the Nordic and Baltic States and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of the Latin America, Africa, Asia and Pacific Department Audrius Bruzga.
And Ms. Salukutula has described the proposed MoU as a “big step” towards strengthening relations between the two countries since establishing diplomatic relations almost 20 years ago.
This is contained in a statement issued by Counsellor at the Zambian Embassy in Sweden Nicky Shabolyo.
The ambassador explained that not much had taken place in terms of cooperation between Zambia and Lithuania because of the absence of a framework within which engagement and interaction could take place.
The Zambian envoy adds that Lithuania’s proposed economic corporation demonstrates its commitment to strengthening relations with Zambia.
She has noted that such meetings are key as they will eventually help establish strong relations at top government level and even generally between the peoples of the two countries.
Ms. Salukatula and her Lithuanian counterpart also agreed to arrange a digital event through which Zambian and Lithuanian experts in the sectors mentioned in the proposal could meet and agree on furthering collaboration.
She assured her Lithuanian counterpart that Zambia had enjoyed peace for a long time and had laws in place which ensured investments were protected. – ZNBC.
Mupika Silk Farm creates 4,000 job opportunities
THE Mupika Silk Farm has increased its Zambian labour force from the initial 2,000 to 4,000 to work on the US$31 million silk project in Mpika district of Muchinga Province.
Sericulture Projects Manager Chewe Mulenga disclosed that the increase in the labour force was enabled so as to allow the company export finished product by adding value to the materials and not just raw materials.
Capt. Mulenga said the number of warehouses being constructed have also been increased from four to thirty ranging from 12.55 metres to 5.2 by 6.2 metres.
ZANIS reports that the company has since started expanding the warehouses and other infrastructure on its 6,000 hectares land.
“Some of these warehouses will be used for storage while the other for processing,” he said.
Capt Mulenga also disclosed the company’s intention to construct 40 staff houses for junior workers, 20 houses for senior officers and an office block.
Others projects include construction of a health post, police post , upgrading of two primary schools to secondary schools and a filling station which will service both the staffs, community and the general public.
And Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary Davison Mulenga has commended the Mupika Sericulture and Silk Farm for its initiative to create employment and honouring its social responsibility to the surrounding community.
“As Provincial administration we want to encourage you to keep up with the good work,” he said. – ZANIS.