By ZBC Reporter
ENERGY and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi has expressed concern over inadequate funding of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), a situation that has stalled projects implementation.
The rural electrification Agency (REA) has to date completed over 9 400 projects, but it’s efforts are being hampered by poor funding, with the agency mainly relying on a six percent levy on ZESA electricity sales.
According to Advocate Chasi, other funding options are being explored to enable the implementation of more projects in order to extend the grid electricity network in rural areas.
He said this during the commissioning of electrification projects at Chijawi primary and secondary schools in Hurungwe East.
“The major challenge faced by REA is inadequate funding. The 6 percent electrification levy that REA gets through electricity sales and the fiscal allocation by the government are not adequate to accelerate the programme or sustain the momentum already gained by the government.”
He urged beneficiaries of the Chijawi electrification projects to guard the infrastructure from vandalism, warning
copper cable thieves that they will soon face the full wrath of the law.
“Let’s warn each other against tempering with electricity infrastructure. We are soon going to come up with a law which provides for a mandatory minimum thirty-year jail sentence for copper cable thieves,”
Legislator for Hurungwe East Hon Ngoni Masenda expressed hope that computerisation will be implemented at rural schools that have been electrified.
“We now hope that the ministries of ICT and Primary and Secondary Education will bring computerisation in the schools.”
Rural electrification is expected to close the standard of living gap between urban and rural communities.