The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has connected over 14, 000 households out of the 22,000 target.
Speaking in an interview with the Lusaka Star, REA Corporate Affairs Manager Justine Mukosa said that about 14, 293 low income households and 1, 898 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been connected to electricity across the country as of December 2019.
Mr Mukosa stated that energy is a necessity to all households and providing access to electricity comes as an improvement in their lives.
Mr Mukosa said that both SMEs and low income households in rural parts of the country have been targeted to be powered with electricity by the end of the first subsidy, under the five year Electricity Service Access Project (ESAP).
He acknowledged that REA has faced two key challenges involving resources received under the rural electrification plan and reduced numbers in man power in the implementation and enforcement of ESAP.
In order for us to meet our target for each annual phase of the project, we get over 50 million US Dollars from government appropriations as well as grants and loans from donors, but we have always had a backlog of projects because funds haven’t been enough.Mr Mukosa said.
REA Corporate Affairs Manager further explained that REA has had very few engineers to supervise the projects country wide.
Projects have sometimes been delayed due to lack of adequate man power. So it is our wish going forward that our physical presence becomes available in all the districts to ensure effective implementation of the project.He said.
Mr Mukosa also disclosed that REA is planning to attach a business orientation to the rural electrification program and appeal to the private sector for support.
We want to push the agenda of enticing the private sector to come and invest into rural electrification projects specifically those that have to do with generation of electricity,Stated Mr Mukosa.
Electricity Service Access Project (ESAP) is a 26.8 million U.S dollar five year project that was approved in 2017 and launched on the 17th January 2019 by the Ministry of Energy through the Rural Electrification Authority aimed at increasing electricity access in rural areas across the country.