By TENDAI KADYAMOTO and ARNOLD CHASAYA
Stanbic Bank-Zambia has urged energy regulators in the country to prioritise stakeholder consultation when adjusting energy tariffs.
Speaking on the side-lines of the just-ended Sustainable Energy Southern Africa Forum of the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership held in Lusaka, Stanbic Bank-Zambia investment manager Mwila Mwenya said stakeholder consultation was crucial in ensuring that energy tariffs were reflective of prevailing economic trends.
“We need to look at whether the electricity tariffs that we have in this country are market-related, and if not, how to adjust them to make long-term projects bankable and profitable.We also need to provide a social safety net for people who may not be able to afford those tariffs,” said Mr Mwenya.
He observed that the energy sector was at the heart of economic activities and as such, failure by energy regulators to adjust electricity tariffs using available data from economic players such as banks would cripple industries.
“As banks we are always looked at as lenders, but we should also be seen us as providers of advice. From our perspective as Stanbic Bank’s, we have an investment banking unit and apart from that, we do provide advisory services,” he said.
Mr Mwenya expressed optimism that the occasion would help in providing energy regulators with the necessary information upon which energy tariff adjustments would be based.
“The discussions have been fruitful, and we will probably end up at a point where the changes will happen and will happen in a way that people will pay the price of power that they should be paying. Commercial companies will pay what they should pay and the same goes for retailers.” he said.
The event provided a platform to discuss progress on Zambia’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) Action agenda and investment prospectus.
Stanbic Bank has invested more than US$575 million in the development of Zambia’s energy sector in the last two years with the aim of tackling the energy crisis the country is currently experiencing.