He was boasting during the handover of the Kafue Gorge Lower Project ‘site’ to the contractor Sinohydro Corporation of China at Kafue Gorge
A closer look at the project shows that there is nothing new or special about the project Lungu was launching yesterday. It is one of the big launches and ground-breaking ceremonies we are now used to. These were common during the Rupiah Banda regime. How many times did former president Rupiah Banda launch such hydro-powers stations and how many are working today?
Yesterday, Lungu said the project would go a long way in mitigating the enormous power deficit the country is currently experiencing.
But what he carefully omitted to say is that the project is expected to be completed after four years. Which means that if at all it will be completed in time, it will start producing power at the end of 2019. With funding gaps, unstable local currency and policies, this project might take more than 10 years and will cost thrice.
Lungu also said the project will create about 5,000 jobs at the peak of construction. He said this project would create business opportunities for suppliers of goods and services to benefit the local communities and the country at large.
Note the use of the work ‘peak’ of construction. This peak period might be in 2017 as what is happening now is clearing the ground, and the fact is that most of the good and well paying jobs have already been given to China men.
It must also be noted that all the money for the project is borrowed.
The project is estimated to cost two billion United States dollars ($2,000,000,000) and Lungu claimed that his government has already provided an initial one hundred and eighty six million ($186,000,000) united states dollars through ZESCO, from the Eurobond, as part of the initial equity and investment contribution to kick- start the project. The Watchdog has serious doubts about this statement. Knowing the PF, we serious question if this money was actually released.
What we know is that 90 per cent of the money will come from China in form of loans.