By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ELECTRICITY might become one of Zambia’s major export commodities owing to the recent tariff adjustments which will attract investment in the sector and in turn grow the economy, the Bank of Zambia has said.
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) recently adjusted electricity tariffs by 50 percent, and 25 percent in July.
Central Bank Governor, Denny Kalyalya, said much as tariff adjustments may have a negative impact, it could also lead to Zambia exporting power in the near future as more investments would be attracted into the industry.
He said Zambia was currently one of the role models of scaling up solar in the sub-Saharan Africa, saying this was an added advantage of being a possible power major exporter.
“Yes, there is a pinch on the other hand that it brings about but on the balance of things, if the sector is to grow we can see that electricity could become one of the major exports for the country. Right now we depend on copper which is a wasting asset,” he said.
Dr Kalyalya told the media this week that cost reflective tariffs were cardinal in attracting investment in the energy sector as investors would be able to recover their money.
“One day you will wake up and there will be no copper but electricity will be there and we have other potential sites being exploited. So these adjustments must be seen also in that order and context that they can do. It may be annoying at the moment but this is something which will help even for the growth of the economy,” he said.
“Another asset is that the subsidies was taking money away from other important areas of our economy, so going forward this is going to result in more activities in the sector and the economy as a whole,” he said.
Dr Kalyalya also announced that electricity generation in the first quarter of 2017 picked up as water levels in reservoirs improved following above normal rainfall during the 2016/17 rainy season.