7 July 2012

Zambia: REA - Fuelling Development Through Electricity Provision

DURING the just ended trade fair in Ndola interpreting this year's Theme, "Creating synergies beyond boarders," the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) emphasized its stance of electrifying rural areas which is going beyond borders and connecting everyone to modern technology and development.

In this case, they are poised to see to it that access to electricity for all rural areas in Zambia by the year 2030 would be an essential prerequisite to the social economic development for the nation.

The provision of this form of modern energy to the rural populace would indeed increase productivity in all sectors and the quality of life.

In this modern world, it is amazing that some people still cannot have access to such modern energy services more so 48 years after independence.

Majority of the population in Zambia live in rural areas where agriculture is the cornerstone that can sustain and up -lift their standard of living yet some parts are still in total darkness.

However, electrifying such areas would bring up economic development to the country as the small scale farmers in villages would have a chance to expand their activities as they would have access to modern farming equipment such as combine harvesters and brooders that are powered by electricity.

It is hoped that the current three per cent of electricity in rural areas in Zambia would increase to 13 per cent in 2013 and 30 per cent in 2030.

REA in 2011 growth master plan managed to start implementing 10 grid extension projects across the country and this year alone about 22 grid extension projects will be implemented.

The question still remains as to whether the authorities would be able to meet the required number or not in order to attain its vision looking at the number of projects that have been under-taken since 2008 todate is the 13 per cent achievable by the year 2030?

Rural electrification Authority corporate affairs manger Justine Mukosa said the authority through the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) commenced the tendering process which the successful bidders would be awarded contracts to implement on its behalf.

He said the sites of the extension project was in all the 10 provinces in Zambia which would be conducted in Sihole project in Kalabo where there is Sihole project,Mwanza and Kasaka projects in Monze,Kawanda in Kabompo,Kabangama, Chimbele and Mandu in Chinsali,Makasa and Kayambi in Mungwi,luarent Chita in Luwingu,Chishimba and Musa 1 in Kasama,Chanyanya in Kafue.

The rest are Kaobe in Kawambwa,chibondo and Chibele in Mwense,Jeru-salem and Chikando in Chipata , Mwanjawhantu and Kaulu in Petauke, Kajeza and Matunga in Katete, Chinfunshi in Chililabombwe, Kang'wena in Chingola and finally Kakulu in Kapiri Mposhi.

The Authority was mandated by Parliament to provide electricity infrastructure through the Rural Electrification Fund which receives US $50 million equivalent to K250 billion every year for the implementation of the Rural Electrification master plan.

However, the money does not seem to be enough for the completion of some of the grid extension projects as it is still focusing on the completion of the ten projects that where earlier proposed last year.

Mr Mukosa said the Authority is operating under the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Mineral Development only has three sources of income at the moment which includes the 3per cent from the Zesco electricity levy, other monies appropriated by the Government and from the donors who include SIDA, JICA World Bank and the Common Wealth.

He said donors only fund the Authority according to the specific projects to be implemented under master plan which is in line with the Government vision for electricity for all by 2030.

He said the Authority has a budget limitation because it does not get the money direct from the National Budget but under the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Mineral Development.

"We hope to have more funds to be allocated to the Authority to carry out all the proposed projects for a particular year which must be completed without running to the foll

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