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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Mines in Zambia maintain Cost of Service study ………’Power pricing be determined in a transparent, objective and efficient manner’

Ngandwe---Chamber wants true cost of  power production known


May 24 (Zambia Informer) ----- -Mining companies in Zambia have reaffirmed their desire for an efficient, transparent and objective way of resolving the cost of power with the inclusion of all stakeholders.

The Chamber of mines, a lobby group representing local and foreign mining companies operating in Zambia says although it has been involved in the negotiations towards determining the real cost of energy in the country which started in November 2016, more needs to be done but with due regards for various fundamentals that seek the inclusion and contributions by all players to arrive at the true value.

The organization, which embraces mining and allied industries argues that it was perturbed about narratives purporting that it has been excluded from the review of  power tariffs for domestic consumers in the country yet it has taken a centre  stage and given its position known on the call for determining the true value power produced based on a Cost of Service Study (CoS).

However, the chamber contends that while it embraces various mining sector players, it has no mandate to negotiate power tariffs for its individual members as it has remained committed to learning how the pricing is arrived at by the service providers-Zambia Electricity Supply Corp., a need that remained unresolved.

“As an industry body, the Zambia Chamber of Mines does not and cannot negotiate power tariffs for its individual members. However, the Chamber has made its position on power pricing in Zambia categorically” Talent Ngandwe, the acting Chief executive officer says in a statement, Wednesday while reiterating its call for a foolproof process to cast away doubts.

 “The position is that going forward, power pricing must of necessity be determined in a transparent, objective and efficient manner.”

The Chamber notes that while negotiations have been ongoing since last year-November with the involvement of various players, among others, Energy Regulation Board and the finance ministry and with the chamber having consulted its members based on their respective agreements made under the Bulk Power Supply Agreements (BPSA) under the auspices of providers and distributors-Copperbelt Energy Corp., (CEC), it reiterates calls for a Cost of Service Study, whose outcome will determine the basis for determining power tariffs in the country for the long term unlike the exclusion of end users.

The Chamber is looking forward to being an active participant in this study, and we are happy that both the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Regulation Board are engaging with the industry in conducting this study adding that power pricing in the country remains critical for harmony to prevail among players.

“The question of power pricing is vital to the economic future of Zambia. Much as there is need for power to be priced at a level that adequately compensates investors in the sector, there must be a realization that this must not be to the exclusion of other sectors in the economy, of which mining is one. 

There must be a balance between the efficacy of electricity pricing, and the affordability of the power produced in the country, as it suits no one to have a power industry without a market for power because no one can afford it”
Mining companies, take cognissance the critical importance of the balance being sought and is ready to abide by and ensure  that the outcome remains the guiding fundamentals of all power pricing decisions in Zambia noting that mining companies consume the larger chunk.

The chamber notes, it is folly for some commentators to fuel a narrative that mines are somehow immune to current developments in the power sector. The mining sector, through the Chamber remains optimistic of a comprehensive, objective and rational debate, as promised by the ongoing Cost of Service Study.

This, should however be backed up by genuine and active interaction among all stakeholders as it remains the best solution to resolving the future of power supply in Zambia. 

“This is what all stakeholders should be aiming for, and it is certainly the aim of the Zambia Chamber of Mines.” added Ngandwe.

Zambia’s power provider-Zesco has affected 75 percent power tariffs for all retail consumers with 50 percent coming into play on May 15 while 25 percent will be applied on 1 Sept. 

However, it argues negotiations are underway with mining companies to arrive at an understanding on whether the company should effect the proposed US$0.933 cents a kilowatt hour effective 1 January.

The Chamber of Mines in Zambia was originally formed in September 1942 as the Northern Rhodesia Chamber of Mines. It operated until 1965 when the Copper Industry Service Bureau (CISB) replaced it. 

However, with the nationalisation of the mining industry the necessity for the Chamber of Mines fell away. The Chamber of Mines was re-established in 2000 after the privatisation of the mining assets were completed. 

The Objectives for which the Chamber of Mines of Zambia has been established are detailed in the Constitution and are as follows: "The Chamber is established for the purposes of promoting the interests of its members, and encouraging, protecting and fostering the Mining Industry of Zambia and doing everything necessary and advisable for the advancement /achievement of those objectives."




Zambia’s Apex Medical University ignites a ray of hope ………..’Initiates a helping hand to 'financially vulnerable students’, pledges not to leave anyone behind’

These are some of the medical programmes or courses being offered at LAMU


HEALTH NEWS:

May 24 (Zambia Informer) ------ “We have come up with this initiative to raise funds for the needy in society because we don’t want to see large numbers of students failing to make it in their academic lives for lack of resources…..these are professional workers in the health sector who are needed across the world because they save lives” Professor Dr. Tuckson Lambert has observed.

The Lusaka Apex University (LAMU), Zambia’s Faculty of Pre-Medical sciences, founded by professionals with a medical backgrounds in 2008 and became operational in 2010 with a paltry 17 students, says the gesture of goodwill is to raise funds for students from disadvantaged background and enable them pursue various programmes in various health science related degree courses and assist in contributing to the global supply of highly qualified health personnel.

The initiative dubbed: “Pledge 25 campaign”  is a financial assistance to be generated through contributions made by the University staff, students, ordinary citizens and other well-wishers with a minimum of K25 each semester which will be channeled towards meeting the tuition and other obligations that the students will need to pay towards their academic programmes in each semester (six months) unlike releasing the “halve nots” to society after they fail to make ends meet in case of calamities including death of their guardians or parents.


Lambert,  the Chairperson and Chief Executive of LAMU, in launching the gesture of goodwill in Lusaka, Wednesday, May 24 said the first group of  beneficiaries will be when the next semester begins  in July this year. Deserving students will qualify for the gesture based on merit after being assessed by a team of experts.

 The initiative has been mooted after 20 students benefited from personal contributions made by some members of academic staff including Professor Lambert as well as resources raised through various fundraising initiatives including Golf tournaments whose proceeds were channeled to the needy.

The university, besides having enrolled about 8,000 students has received overwhelming demand for the academic programmes both from local and foreign based would be students with 600 students on the waiting list, embracing 400 Zambians and 200 from various foreign countries, all seeking to be considered for enrolment.

The nine-year-old academic institution, however, remains a going concern with plans to continue expanding it into more learning institutions to create more space and learning programmes. Plans are underway to construct students hostels at its planned would be fifth LAMU campus.

Management further seeks to construct a state of the art hospital in Chongwe-East of Lusaka which will provide various medical and health services when completed and will be built on the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT).

Professor Lambert however says in view of the growing interest in Zambia and beyond borders, students from within Southern African Development Community and beyond Africa seeking to venture in the courses or programmes being offered were welcome to be enrolled at the university.

The institution, offering various medical and health programmes including degree and masters degrees is an indigenous project and is owned 85 percent by various Zambians, all with backgrounds in medical and health circles, while the 15 percent stake is owned by various other stakeholders.

Key among the founders of the LAMU include Professor Lambert, Professor Lupando Munkonge,          Dr. Njelesani, Dr. Joseph Kasonde, Professor John Mudenda, Lusaka businessman, Yusuf Dodia, Dr. Cecilia Shikopa and  Dr. Vincent Musowe, all with various medical backgrounds as a gesture to compliment the Zambia’s Government in providing training to medical and health staff.

FOOTNOTE:

Location: (All Lusaka based campuses)

Main Campus

Chalala ,  Along Kasama Road.

Foxdale Campus
Foxdale, Along Zambezi Road

Mutandwa Campus
Roma, Mutandwa Road

TICK Campus
Lilayi, Kasama Road

Contact Data:

+260-211-843034
AdmissIon Queries :  


General queries:






Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Malaria-vaccine goes on test in Africa ………… To save millions of lives on the disease inflicted Sub-Saharan Africa

HEALTH NEWS:

May 16 (Zambia Informer)-------Zambia, faced with 19 percent of malaria prevalence, is banking on the success of the malaria vaccine clinical tests to be piloted in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi next year to assist in scaling up the treatment and prevention of the disease in Africa ahead of the 2040 deadline set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

And Zambia has received US$263.4 million financing from Global Fund to assist in the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis under an “Investing to end epidemics” strategy during the period January 2018-2020.

The WHO initiated pilot-malaria vaccine, whose outcome is expected to be known in the two years, has been developed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. The US$49 million for the first phase of the pilot is being funded by the global vaccine alliance GAVI, UNITAID and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Kenya, Ghana and Malawi were chosen for the vaccine pilot because of their strong prevention and vaccination programs, although they continue to have high numbers of malaria cases. The United Nations agency envisages  that these countries will deliver the vaccine through their existing vaccination programs.

According to the WHO,  the vaccine is expected to be tested on children five to 17 months old children, ostensibly to see whether its protective effects shown so far in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions. The vaccine has taken decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop.

WHO has projected to wipe out malaria by 2040 inspite of its increased resistance problems to both drugs and insecticides used to kill mosquitoes.  It is hoped that the vaccine, which has partial effectiveness, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures, says WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement.

The challenge however is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child. Malaria infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year and kills about half a million, most of them children in Africa. Bed netting and insecticides are the chief protection.

Sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit by the disease, with about 90 percent of the world's cases in 2015. Malaria spreads when a mosquito bites someone already infected, sucks up blood and parasites, and then bites another person.

According to WHO, the global effort to counter malaria has led to a 62 percent cut in deaths between 2000 and 2015. However the UN body argues that in the past that such estimate is based mostly on modelling.

Zambia has since welcomed the clinical trials and hopes its success  will assist eradicate malaria and strengthen preventions not only in Zambia, Southern African region but the continent as a whole.
It is hoped trials are once completed; experts will be able to share ideas on the application of vaccine. Presently indoor spraying or the mosquito-net provision is the methods being applied in most African countries; Zambia included treating or preventing malaria.

“The vaccine clinical trials is the only hope for Africa to prevent or fight malaria because most of the methods we are using including residue indoor spraying or provision of mosquito nets have not helped matters” says Dr. John Banda who is head of the National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP) in Zambia”
And Zambia has received US$263.4 million for malaria; HIV and tuberculosis fight from the Geneva-based United Global Fund to support the programmes during the period 2018-20, with expectations to secure more funding until 2022.

During a validation of the global fund funding requests for TB/HIV/Malaria by various stakeholders in Lusaka Wednesday,  it was disclosed that a staggering US$263,386,002 had been allocated to Zambia. This follows a request made to the Geneva based financing group in July last year by Zambia to among other efforts, maximise the impact against HIV, TB and malaria in the country.

The players expect to use the resources to further build resilient and sustainable systems for health, promote and protect human rights and gender equality as well as mobilise increased resources during the period, according to Roy Mwilu, the chairperson for the local Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).
However, the resources secured are not enough with malaria receiving a paltry US$69 million, HIV component receiving US$184.4 million and Tuberculosis getting US$10 million, prompting the stakeholders to seek counterpart funding from other donors including the Government to meet the national needs and cater for the 15 million population settled in the country’s 108 districts.
The Global Fund partnership, set up in 2002, among other efforts,  mobilizes and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need.




Friday, 19 May 2017

Let’s sacrifice to rebuild Zambia’s economy, says Mutati ………As removal of subsidies goes underway on key economic sectors

'Let's sacrifice to rebuild economy'---pix:zambiabusinesstimes.com


May 18 (Zambia Informer) ------ Zambians should sacrifice and accept the transformation measures the Government is undertaking to revive the economy, which has nose-dived to lower ebbs in recent years, Felix Mutati, the finance minister has warned.

In recent months, the Government has indicated its willingness to remove subsidies on among other sectors, agriculture and energy and plough the resources into other productive areas and allow the economy-faced with a ballooning fiscal and budget deficit to resuscitate to life, a situation which has allowed changes to among other programmes a review of the power tariffs to 75 percent, effective 15 this year.

Against this background, the Government has stepped up domestic resource mobilization to ensure it meets the budgeted US$6.5 billion (ZMW64.5 billion in this year’s budget, representing 27 percent or 27.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A total of K44 billion has been planned to be raised through domestic revenues mobilisation, K2.23 billion through grants from our Cooperating Partners while ZMW19.33 billion will be raised debt financing from domestic and external sources, according to Mutati in his budget speech to lawmakers last October.

It is Mutati’s commitment to ensure that Zambia designed and adheres to a home grown Economic Recovery Programme dubbed “Zambia Plus” aimed at ensuring sustained and inclusive growth over the medium term. 

The programme is expected to be complemented by external support from the Cooperating Partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Discussions with the IMF are already underway to augment the Zambia Plus with the Government having made an approach for US$1.6 billion additional financing to ensure it does not derail as envisaged.

Mutati says while the economic downturns have affected the Government’s operations and undertaking of various projects, spurred by the country’s high indebtedness to the local and external creditors in excess of US$10 billion, there is need to realign the economy hence the call for people to sacrifice on the cost of electricity, transport and other areas.

To ensure the economic recovery programme does not fall off along the way, the Government is undertaking various fiscal measures to ensure economic stability and that to ensure the success, the people and the Government must be ready to make some adjustments economically through  sacrifices  from everyone for the economy to return to the right path.

“We need to interrogate whether perpetual subsidies are good for the nation or the current fuel procurement system is good for the country” he said amid recent changes to the power tariffs  that have been revised to cost effective rates of 75 percent-50 percent effected on 15 May with an expected 25 percent being in place by 1 September.

Speculations are mounting that the Government might probably consider reviewing the cost of petroleum products by 48 percent in the short to medium term to avert subsidies that are slapped on the fuels, a claim the Energy Regulation Board and the ministry of Energy have dispelled as mere speculation as there were no justifications in the absence of key fundamentals to warrant that action in the immediate future.

Mutati further urges Zambians not to be scared of the IMF bailout package, expected to be finalized by the close of June this year, in which the Government could probably clinch about US$1.6 billion to undertake various economic obligations including offsetting debts owed to various suppliers of goods and services as well as contractors, arguing that the idea is not as bad as is being portrayed in some sections of society.

The bail out, he argues,  is good for the nation because of the economic hardships that the country has faced in the recent past and that the collaboration with the IMF was in the interest of the nation and not intended to hurt the people more than it is at the moment.

Mutati reiterates the ideal that the IMF package was not unusual but was about striking a sound and stable economic management programme to sustain economic growth.

Addressing members of the Civil Society Organisation in Lusaka Mutati, who led the Zambian delegation to the Spring World Bank and IMF meetings last April argues that  the engagement between Government and the IMF about sound and stable economic management.

The Government, he adds wants to minimize poverty and grow the economy hence the Government has given IMF a homegrown programme hence the Government’s initiative to put in place several measures which include maximising domestic revenue collection.

Mukuli Chikuba, his  permanent secretary economic management and finance added his voice stating  that the government is on course regarding the engagement with IMF with the work having reached 95 percent from being finalized hence there is no need for anyone to be anxious or breathless about the three-year programme which is anchored on social protection too.

Zambia’s vision to add a new lease of life to the economy has received thumbs up from its cooperating partners who have unanimously backed the Government’s desire to engage the IMF and implement a home grown stabilisation and growth programme,  Zambia-Plus.
  
Chairperson David Wiking, in his voice on behalf of the cooperating Partners Group, says the partners were happy at Zambia’s desire to continue dialoguing on matters of national interest, intended to rekindle the economy that seeks a new lease of life.
“We appreciate being part of the process of the country’s development.” adds Wiking, who is also the Swedish Head of Cooperation in Zambia.
“It is important for us to have a clear understanding of the extent to which Zambia’s engagement with the IMF has progressed,”
Mutati in his brief to the cooperating partners commended them for their desire to assist Zambia’s economic growth path noting that their involvement was critical to the country’s economic stabilization and that dialogue and engagement remains pillars of the country’s growth programme. 
He reiterated that the IMF programme remains on course and is gaining momentum.
 “We are on track in our negotiations with the IMF……we are gaining momentum and traction on various aspects of engagement including the type of support for the 2017 budget and for our development plans from your our development partners.”
NOTE: THE ZAMBIAN KWACHA IS SELLING AND BUYING AT ZMW9.60/US$1...