THE Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has disbursed a K1.4 million loan to Kumil Energy Limited, a Zambian company, to finance a feasibility and environmental impact assessment for the development of a renewable energy project in Mwansabomwe district.
The project will produce ethanol from sugar cane and 20 million litres of fuel grade ethanol and generate nine megawatts of biomass power to cushion the power deficit the country is grappling with.
The thermal power generation plant will create over 2,000 jobs when fully operational and 1,000 additional jobs for sugar cane out-growers.
CEEC director-general Likando Mukumbuta said the funding of the feasibility and environmental impact assessment is a major step towards the successful implementation of the renewable energy project.
Mr Mukumbuta said CEEC decided to fund the feasibility and environmental assessment in line with its quest to support Zambians and empower them to fully participate in various sectors of the economy such as mining and energy.
He said this yesterday when Kumil Limited officials, led by the company’s chairman, Simon Bota, called on him.
“This is historic because we must ensure that Zambians participate in the economy at all levels, including strategic areas such as mining and energy,” Mr Mukumbuta said.
He said if Zambia is to fully benefit from its abundant natural resources, Zambians must not serve as employees in key industries but must take ownership so that profits can be retained in the country.
“If profits are retained in the country, the nation’s economy will grow faster and we will register substantial poverty reduction,” Mr Mukumbuta said.
He said the disbursement of the loan is timely because lack of capital for feasibility studies has been hampering local entrepreneurs’ quest to implement their projects.
And Mr Bota said Kumil is heeding Government’s call for the private sector to accelerate industrialisation and job creation for Zambians, especially in rural areas.
He said pioneering the blending of ethanol and fuel will substantially reduce the pump price of fuel and make Zambia an international competitive hub of commerce and industry.
Mr Bota said the feasibility study and assessment will be concluded in six months while the full implementation of the project will take two years at a cost of US$436 million., Lusaka