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Find means of reducing load shedding: Haabazoka advises govt

By NATION REPORTER

IT is a suicidal to maintain load shedding and Zambia’s economy will suffer, unemployment will increase drastically while the kwacha will crumble and inflation will soar, Economist Dr Lubinda Haabazoka has warned.

Dr Lubinda said 12 hours of load shedding should be treated as an energy crisis and advised government to be prudent and find mitigation measures that would avert complete shutdown of the economy.

He said the government needed to come up with strategies that would deal with load shedding in order for the economy not crumble. 

Dr Haabazoka said in the long run, there was need to realise that hydro energy remained unreliable because climate change had shown that rivers were drying and there was need to escalate the process of building a nuclear power plant with Southern Africa as the potential market besides Zambia.

He said the Southern and Eastern Africa had an integrated power network under the Southern African Power Pool from which Zambia could buy power and reduce load shedding.

Dr Haabazoka said there was also an inter connectivity through the Zambia Tanzania Kenya network although it needed a lot of work while the Zizabona (Zimbabwe Zambia Botswana), the Congolese interconnector needed to be upgraded among others.

“Since we are scared of nuclear energy, we as Southern Africa can agree to get Rosatom operated floating nuclear power plants to dock in Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia. Each ship depending on specifications can provide over 100 megawatts of power. The beauty about this technology is that should there be a problem with the reactor (which is highly unlikely), the ship can move away from land,” he said.

He said the energy crisis started in Zambia and Southern Africa in particular started in the early 2000s and that the major causes of the energy deficit included population growth, little investment in new electricity generation capacity, aging energy infrastructure climate change and economic growth. 

Dr Haabazoka said unfortunately for Zambia, the Kariba Dam built in the end of the 1950s had proven to be very inefficient and was vulnerable to climatic conditions. The dam provides over 750Megawatts.

Dr Haabazoka said politics, bureaucracy and the African curse of slowness had hindered the development of the energy sector. 

“We have failed to implement the common carrier principle to limit CEC and ZESCO monopoly of electricity transmission in the country! We can’t have companies blocking electricity transmission to the mines and households. This hinders the introduction of new independent power suppliers,” he said.

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