Power Dream Comes True for Namwala

RURAL electrification is the process of bringing electrical power to rural and remote areas.

Electricity is used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows for mechanisation of many farming operations, such as threshing, milking, and hoisting grain for storage. In areas facing labour shortages, this allows for greater productivity at reduced cost in impoverished and undeveloped areas, small amounts of electricity can free large amounts of human time and labour.

It is for this reason that the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is electrifying rural districts and chiefdoms of Zambia.

In Namwala District the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has so far electrified Mbeza area of Chief Nalubamba’s chiefdom.

Namwala District a rural District found in the Southern Province of Zambia, is located 170km North West of Choma District, 158KM from Monze and 350 KM from Lusaka. The vast Part of the District lies in the Kafue basin with seasonal flooding being prevalent due to under laying impervious sub soils .The entire District covers an estimated total area of about 10,000KM.

The MBEZA grid extension project is one of the 1,217 rural growth centres that was drawn from the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP) which is the blue print for Rural Electrification in Zambia.

The implementation of the project officially started on 4th October, 2013, and has been completed within the project implementation period of fourty weeks.

The total cost of the project is K10m and was contracted to Yengatech, a local contractor who undertook implementation on behalf of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA).

The project involved construction of a total of 44.4KM 33KV of overhead grid lines from existing 33KV line at Niko along the Choma Namwala Road passing through Niko rural growth center.

A total of 5.5KM of Medium voltage line to electrify 15 public facilities, in Namwala District the immediate beneficiaries include.

– Chief Nalubamba’s palace and administrative office.

– Moomba Primary school and health centre

– Nakamboma Primary School and health centre

– Nalutanda Primary School ,health centre and market

– Simanje Primary School

– Niko Police.

In Monze District under the MBEZA grid extension project the immediate include Bweengwa Primary School, Bweengwa rural health centre and market.

According to Rural Electrification Authority (REA) Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Musonda at the Commissioning of the MBEZA grid extension project in Namwala District, he said that in 2012 REA and ZESCO LTD with support from the World Bank started implementation of the increased access to electricity services (IAES) project .The IAES programme is aimed at increasing access to electricity services and improving efficiency and the quality of the country’s electricity distribution system.

Under this programme, a financing agreement on connection subsidies was signed to provide for additional funds for purposes of disbursing subsidies to approximaltely 50,000 new households in rural areas of Zambia . With this additional funding private households can now connect to the grid at a subsidised cost of only K150.

The programme will therefore support access to electricity for those who otherwise would not be able to enjoy direct benefits of living in electrified areas or would have to pay a high connection to have access to electricity.

The REA CEO the rural communities to take aantage of the k150 subsidised electricity connection fee to connect and immediately engage in productive uses of electricity.

According to Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma at the commissioning of the Mbeza grid extension project ,that the electrification of rural areas is in line with the Patriotic Front Policy of providing an enabling environment for traditional leaders to effectively participate in the social and economic development of Zambia.

Energy Minister notes that Government has a clear vision for the people that live in rural areas , like Mbeza in Namwala District that is why Developmental Projects are a priority and that Electricity is on of he key drivers of any country’s economy.

He added that Patriotic Front Government will continue to invest in the Rural Electrification Programme in an effort to alleviate Poverty and ensure that all Zambian enjoy social economic development.

Rural Electrification also helps in the health and education sector, and improved staff retention which will contribute to an improved an increase in the examination record pass rate for pupils living in rural areas.

This will be necessitated by longer study hours and diverse use of learning facilities such as laboratories and information technologies (ICTS).

Namwala District Commissioner Gevar Nsanzya said that the Government under the leadership of President Michael Chilufya Sata is committed to electrifying Rural areas through the Rural Electrification Authority at a very subsidiSed rate.

ZANIS

Source : The Times of Zambia

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