ZESCO withdraws application for tariff hike

ZESCO has withdrawn its application to hike electricity tariffs by 25 per cent.

ZESCO Managing Director Cyprian  Chitundu says the withdrawal has been necessitated by lack of a board at the Energy Regulation Board to approve the tariff.

CHITUNDU however said ZESCO will go ahead and apply for 25 per cent increment within the next two months.

Chitundu said ZESCO has been advised that the application can NOT be approved because there is NO board to act on the application.

On Thursday, the Watchdog reported that the PF government has proposed to increase electricity tariffs from  May 1, 2012 for both consumer and commercial users.

According to the advertisement in today’s daily newspapers on revision of tariffs, the government owned power utility firm, Zesco, has proposed various electricity  increases for both domestic and commercial users with effect from May 2012.

According to the advertisement signed by Director- Corporate Affairs and Business Development, B. Phiri, the rising cost of producing electricity, cumulative inflation increase, and exchange rate pressures against rising cost of imports are among the reasons for increasing the tariffs.

These  economic fundamentals cited by Zesco as reason for proposed increase are the first admission by the PF government that the economy was on a downward trend since they came into power.

Some economic analysts have predicted uncertainties in the Zambian economy due to PF government hostile stance towards foreign investments, especially the handling of the Zamtel and Finance Bank sale.

The PF government swept to power in Zambia on pro-poor populist promises such as reductions in electricity tariffs, fuels, and scrapping of ZNBC monthly TV levy, among other things.

But since coming to power, there has been no clear economic policy agenda other than popularising the pursuit of plunder cases under the previous regime.

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