3)–DC spells out economic challenges

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-Government says Zambia is capable of producing 6,000 Mega Watts of electricity from the current 2,000 MW she is producing.


Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary in-charge of Economic Management and Finance Felix Nkulukusa says of the 6,000 MW, Zambia can export 2,000 MW of electricity to her neighbours and the remaining power can be utilized for consumption locally.


Mr. Nkulukusa says this is possible because Zambia boasts of 42 percent of the water bodies she is endowed with in rivers, lakes and falls while the remaining 58 percent is shared by other countries in the Southern African region.


He was speaking to ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today.


Mr. Nkulukusa, an Economist by profession said exporting power to other countries would be one way of diversifying from the ‘traditional’ mining sector to energy.


Zambia produces about 750,000 metric tonnes of copper on an annual basis which is also considered traditional export besides the mainstay agriculture sector.


On the depreciation of the Kwacha, the PS attributed this the fall of the local currency as mere speculation from business community.


A couple of weeks ago, the Kwacha traded at K7.400 against the U$ dollar raising fears among the workers, private sector and the business community.


Mr. Nkulukusa explained that speculators made a lot of ‘cash’ during that period as they opted to keep money by buying the major currency, the United States Dollar.


He said government and the Bank of Zambia swiftly put measures and acted upon to serve the Kwacha from further depreciating.


“The Kwacha was weak largely because the speculators made a lot of cash by buying the Dollar and achieved their agenda. But as government and the Central bank, we moved in quickly to serve our currency,” he said.


Mr. Nkulukusa defended government’s move in getting Eurobonds said the funds are meant to invest in the Zambian economy in key sectors such as roads.


Zambia has over the last two years issued two international bonds on the international bond market ranging from US$ 750 million and US$ 1 billion to be completed in 2022 and 2024 respectively..


The Zambian Government is considering issuing another international bond specifically targeted for the agriculture sector.


The latest Eurobond is earmarked to be in the region of US$ 1 billion and could be issued before the end of 2014, according to Agriculture Minister, Wilbur Simuusa.