Thursday, March 06, 2008

Power outages are due to lack of foresight, charges World Bank

COMMENT - They are mainly a lack of investment in infrastructure. For instance, because thanks to the IMF/WB, Zambia missed out on $2 billion in revenue. And because spending on infrastructure and social services was banned under HIPC? Do they ever take responsibility for their policies?

Power outages are due to lack of foresight, charges World Bank
By Florence Bupe and Fridah Zinyama
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]

THE World Bank has charged that the prevailing power outages in the country are a result of inadequate foresight into the ongoing economic growth. And the bank has refuted claims that it has halted funding to Zesco Limited, hence contributing to the erratic power supply. In an interview, World Bank communications manager Jumbe Ngoma explained that the country had not anticipated the rapid economic growth being experienced, hence there was lack of long-term planning to cater for the growing economic activities. And Ngoma refuted claims that the World Bank was partly to blame for the power outages being experienced.

“Zambians are just fond of using the World Bank as a scapegoat. At some stage, we had warned that if Zesco doesn’t plan well, the country would be massively affected by the projected power deficit in the region, but people even went to the extent of demonstrating against our warning,” he said.

A source alleged that the World Bank’s suspension of funding to the power utility for rehabilitation programmes had contributed to the current erratic power supply.

“We don’t have any outstanding financial commitments to Zesco. We fulfilled our financial pledge for the rehabilitation of the Kafue Gorge power station in full. The current power situation has nothing to do the (World) Bank,” said Ngoma.

And sources within Zesco Ltd said the company’s management had neglected necessary rehabilitation works inspite of the company having signed financial partnerships with different partners.

The sources said poor planning on the part of the company’s management was the major source of the problems it was facing currently.

“Some partnerships involving a lot of money were signed between Zesco and different partners,” they said. “But the problem that is there is that these partners insist on coming with their own technical teams that do not fully understand the mechanisms at most of these power generating stations. For instance, works at Kafue Gorge Power Station have not progressed fast because there are three teams of experts working on the transformers at the power station,” they said.

The sources also said Zesco had fired most of the technicians who understood the whole system and could easily identify where the problems were in the power generation and supply system. The sources also said the problems at Zesco were partly due to demotivation of workers.

“The current management is not willing to meet workers’ demands,” they claimed. “Most workers are not motivated and even if they know what they are supposed to do, they neglect to do so because of the impasse with management. The problems that the institution is experiencing are many and need quick government intervention before things worsen.”

The government recently pledged to assist the power utility with finances to hasten the rehabilitation works that the company has been undertaking.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home