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GREEN PARTY REACTION NO.6 TO THE UPND BUDGET SPEECH: THE INDENI REFINERY DILEMMA

GREEN PARTY REACTION NO.6 TO THE UPND BUDGET SPEECH: THE INDENI REFINERY DILEMMA

Dear editor,

PRESENTING his Budget Speech on Energy Sector, the Minister of Finance told Parliament that inefficiencies exist on delivery of fuel from  Dar  es Salaam to Zambia, whether  it  comes  in form  of  crude for  the  IndeniRefinery  or  finished  product for storage  tanks  in  Ndola.

He lamented that from  Ndola,  some fuel is returned to  Mpika,  Kasama  and even  Nakonde  –  where  it had passed  through  enroute  to Ndola. He said this inefficiency contributes to the high cost of fuel resulting in subsidy. According to the Minister, Government is currently spending US$21 million monthly on fuel subsidy.

The Minister admitted that Government is in a dilemma regarding the issue of fuel.

The Minister said getting fuel from Indeni is expensive in comparison with purchasing finished oil produce from the Port of Dar es Salaam through the TAZAMA pipeline.

“If we want cheaper fuel, then of course it means that we cannot buy from Indenibut If we want Indeni it means we must accept more expensive fuel, these are the choices we have to make,” the  Minister said.

What will Government do to redesign the supply lines so as to achieve efficiency?

Should Government sell Indeni Refinery, as is planned by the UPND? 

Selling is not an option. Which investor will buy the refinery only to produce fuel which will be expensive, and start subsidising at US$21 million dollars to make it affordable?

Or will the buyer purchase the refinery for either relocating it to some other country or just cut it into scrap metal so that the refinery is out of the fuel equation in Zambia? 

Is the package for the refinery going to include the 2,000km pipeline? If not, what happens to the pipeline after the refinery is cut into scrap steel? Will it also be scrapped?

Is fuel from Tanzania refined in that country or it comes already refined? If it is refined in Tanzania, then, if feasible, why not relocate Indeni to Tanzania so that refining is done in that country and only transported to Zambia as a finished product?

As an alternative to relocation of the refinery to Tanzania, if not feasible, why not use the US$21 million monthly subsidies to put up a brand new refinery in Tanzania for processing our crude feedstock from there, and then transport it to Zambia as finished product?

What has happened to our oil exploration? Do we have fossil oil in Zambia or not?

Alternatively, why not invest the US$21 million monthly subsidy into the sustainable Green Party bio-fuel production strategy from industrial hemp? This will sort out the national headache of sustainable fuel supply and efficiency in Zambia forever. 

Mind you, fuel is a very serious national security issue. It will be national security recklessness of the worst order for the UPND Government to relinquish solely to Oil Marketing Companies, the Government responsibility of sustainable fuel supply.

President Bally, we once again advise you to think outside the box. We wish you safe travel from COP 26. 

Hopefully you learnt one or two things on sustainable green energy solutions, which we the Green Party have been advocating for in Zambia in the last 9 years. We are very much available to sort out your dilemma.

 

PETER SINKAMBA

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