Friday, April 12, 2024
HomeLocal News‘DON’T PUNISH ZAMBIANS WITH POWER TARIFF HIKE’ 

‘DON’T PUNISH ZAMBIANS WITH POWER TARIFF HIKE’ 

By OLIVER SAMBOKO 

ZESCO should not punish consumers by hiking electricity tariffs to raise money to pay back debt because liquidity challenges at the power utility are self-inflicted, the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has said.  

ZACA executive secretary Juba Sakala said in an interview that it was clear that the proposed increase in electricity tariffs announced by Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane was part of the conditions attached to the US$1.3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) extended to Zambia.  

Mr Sakala said the new dawn government should come up with more clear solutions to the many challenges the country was facing such as the high cost of fuel and electricity. 

He said ZACA concerned that government was talking about increasing electricity tariffs instead of cushioning the already stressed Zambians from the high cost of living.

Mr Sakala said instead of always resorting to tariff hikes that were injurious to the welfare of citizens, Zesco should explore other ways of dealing with its debt, which was a creation of bad decision was making. 

He said as government embarked on resolving issues surrounding Zesco’s debt, care should be exercised and measures put in place to ensure citizens are not made to pay for bad decision that Zesco made in the past.

“Consumers should not be made to suffer for the mistakes made by Zesco in the past, and, therefore, our appeal to government is that measures should be put in place aimed at cushioning the impact that will come as a result of phased electricity tariff hikes,” he said. 

Mr Sakala the hike in electricity tariffs coupled with other factors obtaining on the ground would exacerbate the high cost of living beyond the reach of the majority Zambians.

He said Zambians were already suffering because of unstable essential commodity prices.    

 On Friday, January 13, 20213, Dr Musokotwane announced that cabinet had allowed a gradual increase of electricity tariffs for the next five years.

Dr Musokotwane, however, said the increment will be minimal and manageable.

The Minister warned that the country risked having a serious shortage of electricity in the next five years if tariffs were not increased.

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