Canisius Banda (UPND Vice President for Politics and Administratio) wrote
ON COMMERCIAL MADNESS [The Sorry Case of ZESCO and that of Warped Economic Thought]:
…ZESCO is everyday investing in informing its customers to consume less electricity. This is insane.
This is a paradox of commerce.
On one hand, as political posturing it does make sense insofar as it it a strategy used to control dissatisfied citizens not to rise against an extant poor leadership, which leadership is the cause of the poor performance of ZESCO itself in the first place; but on the other hand, as an act of commerce, it is paradoxical.
It is not uncommon, in the abundance of a given commodity, to use the regulation of supply as a price-control mechanism.
This is not the case for ZESCO. ZESCO just does not have enough electricity to sell. Its production/supply to demand ratio is tragically negative.
Take Japan for instance. Zambia is three times larger. Japan has tenbtimes the popultionnof Zambia at 130 million people. Besides having more consumers of electricity, Japan is a highly industrialised country, and its demand for energy is far greater.
But then there is no loadshedding in Japan.
What then is the difference between Japan and Zambia? Thinking. Leadership.
What makes the foregoing comparative argument of Japan and Zambia even sorrier and curious is that Zambia, other than people, has more natural resources than Japan!
…and, you see, if politics was not involved, loadshedding would end by simply selling to few customers at a high price. This is one way of ensuring quality sergice in business. But this just cannot happen.
Electricity, you see, is an indicator of development. It should be accessible by all. It is a public good.
That ZESCO is the sole generator, distributor and vendor of electricity in ZAMBIA is a gross anomaly which must soon be addressed.
This does not make economic sense besides it being a national security risk.
The cry/lamentation from ZESCO is that, over the years, demand has outstripped supply.
The follow-up question then is, over these years, where was ZESCO? Why didn’t ZESCO over these years create enough capacity to meet both local demand and that from ZAMBIA’s eight markets […you call them neighbours].
Where in the world have you heard of a baker, who is bent on making profit, telling his customers to eat less bread because he is not capableb of baking enough?
That South Africa and other countries are having electricity challenges should be the reason for joy at ZESCO or in Zambia.
And the Zambia Investment Centre/Zambia Development Agency must deliberately front this energy challenge as a priority area for investment in our country.
This madness of spending the borrowed meagre resources that we have on tarring roads used only by ox-driven carts is just that – madness. The returns on such roads will remain elusive.
Let us think and invest properly, ladies and gentlemen.
Our current economic behaviour is shameful.
We borrow to consume.
This behaviour will lead neither to the required development nor political stability.
I shall continue to look forward to the day when ZESCO and, other such corporate entities, shall start to aggressively look for clients, and to tell/encourage these clients to consume more and more of their products […to buy more and more electricity].
Until that day, for now, we have to manage and contend/live with this madness.
Unfortunately, this madness is destroying lives.
Unmet demand is a veritable opportunity.
And loadshedding will remain a wrong and ill-advised remedy. It is evidence of failure. And for failing to solve such a simple problem, we all ought to be ashamed.
Fellow citizes, introspection at our own thought deficiencies/inadequacies will improve us. Let us engage in that!
I wish you well.