THE US$300 million Pensulo-Kasama 330 kilovotts (kV) power project to be constructed by a Chinese firm will create about 3,000 jobs in four provinces in Zambia.
China has thus pledged to continue investing in Zambia's energy sector and other critical industries of the country to boost social economic development. Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao said the two countries needed to continue with cordial relations for mutual benefits.
He was speaking yesterday during a groundbreaking ceremony of the $300 million 330kV Pensulo-Kasama and Pensulo-Lusiwasi-Msoro-Chipata Zesco transmission lines which would be constructed by TBEA of China and funded by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The project would cover Eastern, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces, where it would create more than 3,000 direct jobs.
Mr Zhou called on the Government, local communities and Zesco to give the Chinese contractor and financier, whom he called credible and reputable, support. "Give them necessary support and cooperation to facilitate smooth operation as implementing these projects in such a vast area under harsh conditions is not an easy job.
"Nevertheless, I still want to urge TBEA to implement the project with good quality and high speed, abide by Zambia's relevant laws and regulations and assume due corporate social responsibility by working in an eco-friendly manner, employing as many local workers as possible, paying and treating them fairly," the envoy said. Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said once completed, the four provinces would benefit substantially.
He said electricity was a necessity to drive industrial development and promote overall economic growth. "It is unfortunate that the northern part of the country is underdeveloped when it has huge potential for the mining industry which has so far not been realised due to insufficient and unreliable electricity supply. "In addition, Northern Province harbours some of the best tourist attractions which have not been developed due to the same energy problems I have already alluded to," he said.
Mr Yaluma said the project would increase access to electricity and was hopeful Zesco would achieve the 50 per cent target set in the Vision 2030, which it was committed to realising.
The project was necessitated by the signing of an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract between Zesco and TBEA in September, 2010 and the two firms estimated to complete construction in 30 months.
In the contract, Zesco intends to build a 330kV high voltage transmission line from Pensulo substation in Serenje to Kasama via Mpika and another 330kV high voltage transmission line from Pensulo substation to Chipata via Msoro, apart from extension of the Pensulo substation to accommodate the two transmission line bays.