On 26 November 2015, outgoing president Edgar Lungu held a press conference during which he ordered Zesco to increase the price of electricity.
That was an executive order, a policy direction at the highest level of decision-making n the country. As such, one would have thought that before that order was issued; all possibilities were considered, weighed and evaluated. But alas, today, January 3, 2016, less than 40 days in between, Lungu has ordered Zesco to go back to the old charges.
Really, is president Lungu normal? How is Zesco or anyone else supposed to plan if polices are changing every month end?
This is what he said on November 26, 2015:
‘To reduce the pressure on the Treasury, I direct the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, Energy Regulation Board and Zesco to: Implement the new electricity tariff schedule and move to full cost.’
But today, his spokesperson Amos Chanda tells the country that the directive was to be effected on 1st January last week but could not be implemented there and then due to the holidays.
He explains that the directive by President Lungu will thus be implemented with effect from tomorrow Monday the 4th of January.
Asked whether government’s position on the need for Zambia to migrate to cost reflective tariffs has changed in view of this directive, Mr. Chanda has clarified that the position has not changed.
Mr. Chanda explained that the process of migrating to cost reflective electricity tariffs will be done in phased and systematic manner, meaning this one was done haphazardly.