THE Central Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) says 750 jobs have been lost in Kabwe following the implementation of the revised Zesco tariffs and continued load-shedding.
In an interview, CCCI president Sydney Tembo said the number of job losses in Kabwe’s manufacturing and hospitality sectors was expected to rise over 1,000 if nothing was done to ensure that the Zesco tariffs were cost effective.
“It’s a fact ZALCO has sent away 450 workers and you know Ferro Alloys Corporation Ltd had no option but to go on care and maintenance sending away 300 workers, all because of the revised tariffs that our members were not able to pay and if no immediate action is taken now, more workers will suffer job losses because of the drastic decision by Zesco to triple its commercial tariffs, which will subsequently affect the domestic customer base as most of them may lose their jobs and fail to sustain their ability to purchase Zesco units, which will in turn affect the power utility,” Tembo said.
Earlier, Tembo told the press that the Chamber appreciated the need for cost reflective tariffs which must be sustainable and affordable.
He said CCCI had observed that some of its members’ Zesco bills had risen from K4,000 to K19,000 per month or from K3,000 to K12,000 per month while others had their monthly bills increased from K5,000 to K20,000.
Tembo said these were huge increases that would lead to job losses.
“Kabwe residents will have to grapple with the effects of these major and huge increments, which will see the water company increase its water tariffs by 40 per cent as their electricity bill has somersaulted from the initial K250,000 to K960,000, which has been transferred to its customers,” he said.
Tembo said a pro-poor government must consider all the factors to ensure that it accorded, even the least of the citizenry, access to affordable electricity at all times through stable employment opportunities.