Various stake holders in the country have applauded President Edgar Lungu’s directive to the Energy regulation board to defer the tariff review application made by ZESCO.
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) expressed gratitude to the head of state for his opportune intervention to suspend the proposed tariff increase.
ZNFU president, Jarvis Zimba said the increment could have led to production challenges for farmers especially with regard to irrigation crops such as cabbages, tomatoes, rape and wheat, among others.
“As ZNFU, we are very grateful that after the meeting held during the Field Day in Choma/Kalomo on 2nd May 2019 where farmers complained over the issue of pending ZESCO Tariff increments, Mr. President you listened to our cry and took a fatherly and decisive position on the matter,” Mr. Zimba said.
He retaliated that the union will remain open for consultation as the country strives to develop the agricultural sector.
And the Consumer Unit and Trust Society (CUTS) has commended president Edgar Lungu for deferring the tariff review application.
CUTS Centre coordinator, Chenai Mukumba stated that the tariff increase would have had a negative impact on thousands of households as reviewed by a recent study conducted by CUTS.
“Research that we had done indicated that if we had gone ahead with ZESCO’s Proposed tariffs, we were likely to see 160,000 Zambian’s further plunged into poverty and for us this was a great concern,” said Mrs. Makumba.
And Former National Energy Sector and Allied Workers Union -NESAWU General Secretary Yotam Mutayachalo welcomed the suspension of the proposed increase in electricity tariffs.
Mr. Mutayachalo urged the power utility company, ZESCO, to look at other radical alternative measures of raising revenue instead of relying on tariff adjustments.
He said ZESCO must broaden its customer base through affordable and flexible capital contributions to implement new power connections to increase its financial base.
On 3 May, 2019, President Lungu through the Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa announced the suspension of the tariff review application.
On 9 March, 2019, ZESCO applied to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to revise retail electricity tariffs upwards. Among the proposals included the downward adjustment of the lifeline tariff from 200kwh to 100kwh and elimination of the monthly fixed charge for residential and commercial customers