By Antony Bwalya
I will not say ZESCO has been sold. If I did, I could get arrested. But I am happy to discuss possible scenarios based on publicly available information.
First of all, I do not actually belief the continuous stream of FAKE NEWS and misinformation at the hands of the PF government regarding the total debt stock to China. The government asserts only around $4.572 billion or 30% of the total country’s debt stock is owed to China. This can never be true. Here is why: ZESCO alone is carrying well in excess of $4 billion of Chinese money in loans attributable to various power projects. Antonio Mourinho Mwanza can confirm this. He knows I am right. And if this is correct, then what the government is saying is that ALL monies Zambia owes China is in fact sitting on the Balance Sheet of ZESCO. This of course is such total bullshit. It just cannot be true.
So, now that we have rebutted one lie, let us look at the potential real reason why now the PF government want to “restructure” ZESCO. In my opinion, they are out to split ZESCO into generation, transmission and distribution components. This, they say, is to leverage efficiencies. Fair enough. But to split ZESCO, the PF must find a willing #partner to take up the role of either generating, transmitting and distributing power. Now, remember that the reason ZESCO has been taking on tonnes of Chinese money in loans for projects is because Zambia ( or is it Chambia – can’t work out which one is which…) has no capacity to generate electricity to meet growing demand. Sounds fair. Thus, the logical conclusion is that what the PF are looking for is someone to take up the very difficult task of #generating power. Transmission and Distribution are nowhere near as profitable as generation so a serious investor cannot get bogged down with that. However, we must realise that already, there is a “partner” who has already pumped over $4 billion into the Zambian power generation sector – China via #Synohydro. So, why would the government give the task of generating power to ANYONE ELSE when #Synohydro already has implemented their technology and are running it? The logical conclusion, therefore, is that #Synohydro they will get the profitable #generation component and leave the PF government with the not so profitable #distribution arm of the business.
So, for me, this is a DONE DEAL. #Synohydro will most likely be the ones generating power in Zambia.
Well, your guess is as good as mine. But he is what I think: #Synohydro will come up with a complex method of calculating the cost of generating a unit Kilo Watt of power. They will then give the price to the PF government. For example, if those generating power say it costs then K10 to produce 1KW of power, plus say a markup of K3 on the cost, they will be offloading 1KW of power at K13 to the Zambian government through the distribution arm of ZESCO. So, if ZESCO is currently selling 1KW of power at say K0.3 to domestic users, they will now say, “sorry, the cost of buying has gone up by X amount so your new tariff will be K1 per KW of power.” They will replicate this story across businesses too. Then the entire cost of production chain will go mad. Producers will pass this cost to consumers while real wages will remain depressed. Other businesses will lay off workers, while others will simply shut down. It is a whole fucked up scenario. Then ZESCO itself will for the VERY FIRST TIME properly have to lay off non essential workers and wages ( By the way, I think they are overpaid).
HOW MUCH WILL ZAMBIA RECEIVE FOR GIVING UP THE GENERATION BUSINESS?
Uhmmmmm….Let’s see…..Probably ZERO. The money has already been “given” in loans right? Unless we want more loans on top of the ones we already have.
SO, HAS ZESCO BEEN SOLD?
I don’t know. You do the math.