Sunday, 5 May 2013

ZACCI Calls On Government to Give The Nation A Clearer Road Map On Expected Changes With Regard To Electricity And Fuel Changes At Least Over A Period Of 5 – 10 Years.

The Zambia Chamber Of Commerce And Industry Has Called On Government Through The Ministry Of Energy To Give The Nation A Clearer Road Map On Expected Changes With Regard To Electricity And Fuel Changes At Least Over A Period Of 5 – 10 Years, Alongside This Outline The Greater Benefits And Where The Saved Or Gained Resources Will Be Channeled.

Zacci President Geoffrey Sakulanda Says It Is Well Known Factor That Prices Cannot Remain The Same, But The Erb Is Too Defensive In Delivering Anyone Message. 
Mr. Sakulanda Also Says The Chamber Is Opposed To Government Providing A Distorted “Playing Field” By Providing A Differential Tax Rates For Private Enterprises And State Owned Enterprises (Soe) Who Are Engaged In The Same Activity.
He Says For Example Tazama Petroleum Products Limited A 100percent Government Owned Company, For Example Is Allowed To Import Finished Product At A Duty Rate Of 5percent And Now 0percent When Oil Marketing Companies Pay 25percent For The Same Litre Of Fuel
And In Welcoming Government’s Decision To Remove Subsidies From Fuel Mr. Sakulanda Says The Decision Is Timely Especially That They Have Tried To Mitigate The Impact Of The Removal Of Subsidies By The Removal Of The Five Per Cent Import Duty That Was Chargeable On Crude Feedstock.
He Adds That Government Also Tried To Mitigate The Impact Of The Removal Of Subsidies Through The Reduction In The Kr0.24 That Was Chargeable On Petrol For Strategic Reserves Fund To Kr0.15 On All Products.
Zacci Through Its President Says The Chamber Understands And Agrees That Consumption Subsidies In Any Form Are Not Sustainable And Divert Resources From Productive Sectors To Consumption.
Mr. Sakulanda Has Pointed Out That World Over And In Africa In Particular A Number Of Countries Like Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Namibia And Brazil Are Moving Away From Fuel Subsidies Though Their Approach Has Been That Of Phased Out Removal Of Subsidies.
He Says The Major Reason Cited By Most Countries Is That These Subsidies Turn To Benefit More The Wealthy And Is A Strain On Resources Meant For Development.
The Zacci President Says Though The Increase In Fuel Prices Will Lead To An Increase In Costs In The Short Run, The Chamber Feels That The Decision Was Going To Be Taken Sooner Or Later As It Is Not Sustainable For Government To Subsidies Fuel Prices Across The Board For All Consumers At The Expense Of Education, Health, Road Development, Effective Water Delivery Systems, Skills Development And A Sustainable Local Government Service.
Zacci Through Mr. Sakulanda Has Observed That The State Treasury Would Not Sustain A Year-On-Year Subsidy Plan.
The Chamber Through Mr. Sakulanda Has Recommended That The Resources Saved From Meeting The Subsidies Be Considered For Major Projects Such As Power Generation, Road Infrastructure And Rail Infrastructure That Will In The Long Run Promote Investment And Job Creation.
He Has Urged Government To Cushion, In Particular, The Agriculture Sector And Re-Invigorate The Rural Road Development Exercise As These Areas Should Not Be Allowed To Slow Down As A Result Of This Development On Fuel.
Mr. Sakulanda Has Further Called On Government To Look At Other Economic Sectors To Which They Can Extend Relief To Compensate For The Impact In Fuel Price Changes, One Being The Removal Of The Jevic, Marginal Reduction In Paye Across All Levels And Many Other Opportunities That Bring Relief.
He Has Observed That Without The Cushion, The Fuel Price Of Kr9.91 Or Us$1.87 Per Litre Of Petrol Which Is Very High Compared To Other African Countries Will Render Business Uncompetitive And Unproductive And Will In The Long Run Fuel Inflation.
The Zacci President Says Government Should Critically Look At The Entire Fuel Supply Chain Because The Country Is At Cross-Roads Hoping To Promote Industrialization, Service Delivery And Create More Jobs; And Prices Of Electricity And Fuel Cannot Be Suppressed Artificially.

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