Some Lusaka based small and medium scale entrepreneurs (SMEs) have called on government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy to consider adjusting the prices of fuel downwards to allow them stay in busines, arguing that the current fuel and load shedding crisis will send small scale businesspeople into oblivion. SOME Lusaka based Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) have called on government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy to consider adjusting the prices of fuel downwards to allow them stay in business.
The entrepreneurs complained that increasing the cost of fuel when the country is currently grappling with challenges of load shedding is a blow to most small scale businesses.
A barbershop proprietor in the Central Business Unit (CBD) Lincoln Mwalwa said there is need for government to create an enabling business environment adding that such can only be achieved if the prices of fuel are adjusted downwards.
Mr. Mwamba, who uses a generator as an alternative source of electricity during load shedding told the Lusaka Star that it is difficult for him to work using gen-set power as it is not very effective and costly.
“When ZESCO increased the number of hours for load shedding, some of us started using generators in order to keep our businesses running. But now the high cost of fuel will force us to increase prices for the goods and services that we provide. However, it is important to note that it is not everyone who can afford to purchase generators because they are expensive. Government should therefore consider reducing tax on imported equipment such as generators,’’ he said.
And a welder at Kalingalinga market Chanda Chungu said there is need for government to arrest the increased fuel prices and electricity load shedding as soon as possible.
“I have three children whom I need to pay their school feels as well as feed them … and my only means of income comes from my welding shop which requires the use of electricity every day to operate. Hence, increased load shedding hours will mean less working time and less income for me."
“The economy of the country cannot grow without taking into consideration the important role that SMEs play in economic development. Looking at the current situation, the government should help small scale businessmen and women by providing them with soft loans,” Mr. Chungu explained.
Meanwhile, a Lusaka businessman of Chipata compound Sunday Sinyangwe said in a telephone interview that the current fuel and load shedding crisis will send small scale businessmen and women into extinction.
“This trend might lead to hunger in the country if nothing is done to address the negative impact of load shedding and high fuel prices,” he said.
Mr. sinyangwe has since appealed to the government and other relevant stakeholders to find a long lasting solution to the problem.