By ANDREW MUKOMA
The National Energy Sector and Allied Workers (NESAWU) has welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Zesco and MASDA of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to set up a 2, 000 megawatts (MW) solar plant in Zambia at a cost of US$2 billion.
NESAWU says the development is timely because the country’s economic development is threatened by a crippling energy deficit.
NESAWU general-secretary Clark Siankulu said the deal will go a long way to boost available electricity sources by adding power to the national electricity grid.
He observed that the signing of the MoU is a demonstration of the seriousness that President Hakainde Hichilema attaches to finding long-term solutions to the power deficit.
Mr Siankulu said once actualised, the joint venture would help to drastically reduce the power deficit in the country.
Mr Siankulu said injection of US$2 billion was massive and must be supported by all Zambians, including those that are blaming the new dawn administration for the load management that the country is experiencing.
“Suffice to say the power challenges the country is facing are as a result of poor foresight and management by the former regime that today would want to heap the blame on President Hichilema and his administration.
“As such, we as a union have welcomed the development because it is timely, long overdue and the kind solutions that the nation require in the long-term,” he said.
Mr Siankulu said the fruits of the trip to UAE by President Hichilema and his team were beginning to show
“When you talk about 2, 000 megawatts of electricity, that’s a lot and the project implementation will come with fringe benefits such as job creation for the citizens, especially the young people,” Mr Siankulu said.
He said NESAWU is happy with President Hichilema’s forward looking approach to resolving challenges affecting the country.
Mr Siankulu said those bent criticising the new dawn administration should introspect because they failed to resolve the power deficit when they were in office.
“We also want to commend the government for reaching an agreement with Maamba Collieries to begin feeding the national grid with 150MW in order to mitigate the power outages. This also goes to show the kind of leadership the country has under President Hichilema.
“The union would also want to thank Zesco management under Victor Mapani’s leadership for seizing the power deal at the time that the country’s power situation is worrisome,” Mr Siankulu said.