Zambia set to end power tariff subsidies for large firms
Zambia's government will stop supplying cheap electricity to large industries as Africa's second largest copper producer battles a costly power shortages. The move away from subsidized electricity tariffs for large consumers will happen immediately, while state utility Zesco will source energy from private producers to plug the deficit, government spokesperson Vincent Mwale said.(Read more)
It’s about damn time!
It’s about time that there is an actual push to migrate to cost-reflective electricity tariffs especially with respect to the Bulk Supply Agreement which have historically helped keep investment in energy from private sector players on the sidelines. This move was actually supposed to have taken place by the end of 2013 (after a meeting in 2008) as Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) countries agreed to migrate to cost reflective tariffs. However, for multiple reasons, none of the members fully migrated.
For the most part, ZESCO has been going at it alone with respect to investment in generation, transmission and distribution – something that is not sustainable at current low tariffs. Cost-reflective tariffs should fast-track major investment into hydro, solar and to a certain extent thermal over the next few years. The Minister of Energy made an ambitious statement that by August 2016, 1,200 MW of solar would come online. It will not be long until it is put to the test.
Crisis sparking action
The most annoying thing about this development is the fact that it has taken an energy crisis to spark it. All the facts have been well-documented over the last decade. There is a lot of blame to go around from politicians (past and present) to the World Bank (with respect to privatization) but the important thing is to move forward.
Water will be the next big issue to affect the country. Just like electricity, there has been a lack of adequate investment into infrastructure which is already affecting rapidly expanding urban areas. The only major project in the works is the $355 million Millennium Challenge Account (in Lusaka) which will help but a lot more is required. Will it take another crisis in water to spark action?
Mining companies agree to 30% reduction in power consumption
Zambian power providers will reduce supplies to mines in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer by 30 percent as the country faces its gravest electricity shortage. Suppliers reached the agreement with mining companies, including the local units of Glencore Plc and First Quantum Minerals Ltd., at a Tuesday meeting in Lusaka, the capital, said Jackson Sikamo, president of the Chamber of Mines. Copper producers will have the option of buying emergency imported power at a higher cost, he said by phone. (Read more)
ZESCO set to import up to 308 MW of electricity
Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma said the country has started importing 100 mega watts of electricity from Mozambique to help mitigate the power deficit the country is currently experiencing. Mr. Yaluma also said talks have advanced of the possible import of more power from other countries that have a surplus to cushion the power deficit. (Read more)
Malawi and Zambia agree power interconnection deal
Malawi and Zambia have signed in Lusaka a power interconnection pact to boost energy capacity for the two countries.According to Malawi Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka, Malawi has been negotiating for a possible of interconnection of electricity with Zambia some time ago. (Read more)
Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana reduce roaming charges
Four Southern African countries – Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana have announced plans to reduce their roaming charges. The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia(CRAN), the body overseeing the project said the new plan will take off on September 1, and will also see continuous annual reduction in the costs of roaming between the four countries. (Read more)
Central Bank keeps policy rate unchanged at 12.5%
Zambia's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 12.5 percent on Tuesday, saying it predicted inflation would breach the regulator's target by the end of the year. "In the third quarter of 2015, annual inflation is projected to be slightly above the end year target of 7.0 percent," Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya said at a press conference. (Read more)
Bank of Zambia governor backs plans to make Yuan part of IMF special drawing rights
The head of Zambia's central bank said on Tuesday that the bank was in support of plans to make the Chinese currency, the renminbi(RMB) part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights. The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the existing official reverses of member countries. The SDR currently comprises of the United States dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen. (Read more)
Larfarge Zambia sees 14% topline growth in H1 2015
In compliance with the requirements of the Securities Act, Cap 354 of the Laws of Zambia and the Listing Rules of the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), Lafarge Zambia Plc announces the unaudited results for the half year ended 30 June 2015. (Read more)
Emerald and Beryl production up 30% at Kagem mine
* Production summary for 75%-owned Kagem Mining Limited in Zambia for quarter ending 30 june 2015:
* Production of 8.1 million carats of emerald and beryl (versus 6.2 million carats in quarter ending 30 june 2014)....(Read more)
President Lungu appoints new defense minister
Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday appointed an opposition lawmaker to the powerful job of defence minister, a post he had held since his election early this year, his office announced.
Richwell Siamunene, 43, is a businessman and member of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), whose leader Hakainde Hichilema narrowly lost to Lungu in the presidential election in January. (Read more)
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *