MINES, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma has said the Government will give first priority to Zambians on the production of ethanol, before allowing foreign investors to set up plants in Zambia.
Mr Yaluma said the Government would only allow foreign companies to set up ethanol plants in Zambia if there would be no local companies that could do so.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka, Mr Yaluma that the Government was open and was trying to move into ethanol. He added that there were a number of companies that had expressed interest to set up plants in the country including Zimbabweans.
“Right now, we are trying to formulate Government’s position and the way forward on how we proceed which will be completed in the next two or three weeks.
And that will be now our working documents. Yes in principal, Government’s position has not changed, we are going for ethanol.
“But it must come and demonstrate that it will bring down the fuel pump prices.
But when we try to bring in people to come and set up plants in the country, we must be sure that there are no Zambians who can do that, and then we can give foreign companies an opportunity to do so,” he said.
And Mr Yaluma said plans to import ethanol from Zimbabwe have not changed and that Government had continued to talk with suppliers from Zimbabwe.
“We are trying to start bringing in ethanol from Zimbabwe because ethanol is the way to go. But we are still discussing with suppliers from Zimbabwe and very soon we will reach a conclusion with suppliers. But we intend to set up our own plant.
Mr Yaluma said government wanted to encourage the private sector to partner with Zambian companies.