THERE is need to have equity in the accessibility and sustainability of energy for all citizens, particularly the vulnerable in society, says Civil Society for Poverty Observatory Group (CS-POG) chairperson Isabel Mukelabai.
She said yesterday at a media breakfast dubbed “State of the Economy – energy crisis and its impact” that there was need for equity and accessibility as well as affordable tariffs in the energy sector.
Ms Mukelabai said there was a correlation between poverty reduction and the equity in the accessibility of electricity.
She said CS-POG had been implementing the project State of the economy – energy crisis and its Impact which seeks to access the challenges that were currently resulting in what was at play in the energy sector and identify policy options that would help Government and other stakeholders to address these challenges.
And Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS) board member Yusuf Dodia called on the media to relay relevant and accurate information to citizens that would enable them change their behaviour and to demand for higher social standards.
He said Zambia’s economy has been growing at an average of five per cent per annum over the past 10 years, which has essentially resulted in the increased demand for energy, specifically electricity.
Mr Dodia, who is also Private Sector Development Association chairperson, said the energy crisis had resulted in a surge in electricity blackouts in the country to the detriment of the ordinary citizens.
He said despite the huge amount of resources that have gone into the energy sector, it has continued to pose a huge cost to the Government.
“As you are aware, Zambia largely depends on hydro power to drive its industry and domestic use. The change in the weather pattern has severely crippled the nation’s capacity of supplying electricity both to consumers and industry; as such Government began importing power at a very huge cost in order to maintain the country’s production levels,” he said.
And Mazabuka Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo said there was need for the country to seriously consider water harvesting as one of the measures that will sustain hydro power usage in the near future.