HomeTransportationZambia resorts to Zim ethanol fuel

Zambia resorts to Zim ethanol fuel

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ZAMBIA — The government has said it will start importing ethanol from Zimbabwe with a view to lowering the high fuel prices in Zambia.

Times Online /Business Reporter

And the government will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zimbabwe-based firm Green Fuel in its continued efforts to find cheaper sources of fuel for Zambia.

Mines, Energy and Water Development deputy minister Charles Zulu said shortly after a conducted tour of the Chisumbanje Energy plant operated by Green Fuel in Harare that the government was happy to find a cheaper source of ethanol in Zimbabwe.

He said the government would, in the short-term, import ethanol from Zimbabwe while it was working out plans to come up with its own ethanol plant at Nakambala Sugar Estate in Mazabuka.

Zulu said finding a cheaper source of fuel was an alternative for Zambia and not subsidies, as the government was in a hurry to develop the country.

“We are about to sign an MoU with Nakambala, although the sugar company wants to start producing power and exporting ethanol. So we want to encourage them to just use ethanol produced at the plant,” Zulu said.

Zulu noted that Zimbabwe had progressed in the energy sector in terms of renewable energies, but Zambia still had a lot more to learn.

“We are happy that as the government, we have found a source of energy which, in the short-term will assist us as a country to bring down the prices of fuel in Zambia,” he said.

He noted that the Zambian people were bemoaning the removal of fuel subsidies, but that the government felt the solution was not throwing stones and criticising, but working together to find cheaper sources.

Zulu said the government had realised that ethanol was environmentally clean, and it was expected that fuel prices in Zambia would go down once the country switched to that source of energy. He said motor vehicles would last long and that there would be job creation, adding that the economy would grow. Zulu said it was possible for Zambia to do what Zimbabwe was doing currently.

“As you may be aware fuel in Zimbabwe is cheaper than in Zambia as the country is using ethanol. Malawi is equally cheaper as they use ethanol,” he said.

Green Fuel said the company was ready to start exporting the commodity to Zambia.
The company said it was possible to export directly from the plant as it had a customs officer stationed within the plant, hence it would not be difficult for it to do so.

He said the company had been focusing on the local market, but that it was considering to start exporting to countries including Malawi and South Africa which he said had a huge market in the region.

Green Fuel general manager Graeme Smith said the viability of the $600 million project, which currently employs 4 500 workers, could further create 22 000 direct and indirect jobs.

“So a total of close to 50 000 of direct and indirect jobs together would be created by the end of the project,” Smith said.

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