Monday, May 13, 2013

$200m hydropower plant will develop W/Province
By Edwin Mbulo in Kaoma
Sun 12 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE US$200 million investment in the first ever hydropower generation plant in Western Province's Sioma district will economically develop the area, says provincial minister Obvious Mwaliteta.

Western Power Company will set up a hydropower plant at Ngonye Falls, which is expected to generate up to 80 megawatts of power.

Western Province is currently one of the least developed areas of Zambia and the coming of the hydropower plant which will partly be funded by the Development Bank of South Africa is expected to boost the area's economic standing and ultimately create jobs for the local people.

The power project will utilise a barrage across the main east bank river channel of the Zambezi and a pit type power house.
Commenting on the development, Mwaliteta said Western Province was moving at a fast rate in terms of development.

"The EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) done by Western Power was welcomed by people and the BRE (Barotse Royal Establishment) is behind it as well meaning it is a welcome idea and it will create employment and the new district, Sioma, will benefit a lot from the station in terms of social corporate responsibility which will come along with that development," he said.
Mwaliteta said the PF's promises of job creation were coming to pass.
He said the government was also looking at increasing revenue collection for economic development through tourism which would be enhanced around Sioma-Ngonye Falls with the construction of the power station.
"Tourism is ripe in that place. But due to its status it is difficult to improve tourism in that area, but once we have a power station there, it will be easy as we have a new road," Mwaliteta said.
He said the investment by Western Power Company was a realisation of the government's commitment to allow private investors help develop Zambia.
"It is our vision and our belief to bring the private sector to help us bring development where it is lacking," he said.
Mwaliteta said Western Province would no longer be an example of a least developed region in Zambia with the new developments coming up.
"People in Lusaka if they want to talk of the worst place, they will mention Shangombo, if they want to talk of the worst province, it is Western Province but come 2016 if they want to talk of the newly developed place it will be Western Province. This power station will change the lives of the people," he said. "It is unfortunate that we are in a political scenario where the opposition is trying to put pressure on this government so that we can lose track, but we will not lose track because we are on solid ground and a lot of people have confidence in us, apart from small boys such as Nevers Mumba, Hakainde Hichilema and Fr Frank Bwalya."
Meanwhile, Mwaliteta said the PF and its government had brought first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda close to them because they want to learn from his vast experience in political administration.
Addressing government and private sector heads of department in Kaoma yesterday, Mwaliteta said the current government would not abandon Dr Kaunda's legacy the way the MMD did.
"We as a government will work very hard so that we do not abandon where we come from. We should look back, that is why we have brought Dr Kenneth Kaunda close to us so that we learn something while he is still alive, it is important that we are with him because we went wrong. As a country we made a lot of mistakes from 1991," he said.
And Mwaliteta said the Constituency Development Fund had been highly politicised and was being used as an appeasement fund by members of parliament to seek support for 2016.
"I'm not threatened politically, I'm ready to step down if I'm a failure. I will surrender that money so that it speaks for me. I never touched the KR1.3 million for 2012 and KR1.3 million for this year, I have already given it out for capital projects since the council is fully equipped. CDF is government money and not a member of parliament's money; it is for the constituency. It must benefit the people. It is even better to give it to the council to provide services," he said.
He said it was sad that police in Mwandi where MMD vice president Michael Kaingu is member of parliament were operating under a tree until the PF's government kick-started the construction of a police post in the area.

Mwaliteta urged the councils to start taking land from the rich to give to the poor.

"What has been happening in Zambia is that we have been taking land from the poor to give the rich…," said Mwaliteta.

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