Africa-Press – Zambia. Emmanuel Mwamba you are being a liar here when you say the closing of Indeni goes against the security of the country and that “This is the danger of pursuing unabated liberal economic policies.” I hate to do this because you are my big brother. I also know that you have serious connections in the energy sector and know a lot.
But how can you pretend that the PF government is not the one that came up with the plan to leave Indeni out and start importing finished product through OMCs and had to also add subsidies to boot?
The PF government granted oil marketing companies a waiver to import finished petroleum products at a cheaper price. The waiver was given to 81 companies to import a total of 1.9 billion litres of diesel and 934 million litres of petrol. Further government had to add other incentives to ensure fuel is cheaper that what would be the market price and all this meant government is losing a lot of cash in subsidies.
Why don’t you tell the nation that Indeni is currently closed and that it was closed by the PF government? And that the UPND government is working towards reopening Indeni this December?
The PF government shut down the ‘refinery’ situated in Ndola in April this year. This followed a period where Indeni reportedly had no crude for over 60 days – the longest period in the last decade.
Why don’t you tell everyone that Indeni’s future hangs in the balance unless a minimum of US$200 million is not sourced for equipment upgrade? Why are you pretending that the recommendation to convert TAZAMA into a conveyor of diesel was not made by PF?
Does it mean you were so out of touch with the PF government that you don’t know these things but a person like me who is not – and has never been – in government knows these things?
Indeni is not even a refinery. Lets tell the truth, Indeni is a clarifier or separator. That is why we cant process sulphur laden crudes or pure crudes like those from Angola. Indeni has a capacity to ‘refine’ 24,000 bbp/d of ‘crude oil’ and process 1,200,000 tonnes of feedstock annually, but in reality it separates comingled stock into diesel and petrol and kerosene. But the cost is high and it means we end up having very expensive fuel at pump price.
Trying to save Indeni was only good in keeping the 329 or so employees at Indeni. However, it makes more sense to give those 329 their terminal benefits and close the Indeni. It doesn’t make sense to run it. Indeni won’t be the first to be close and wont be the last. Technology becomes obsolete. Indeni is 42 years old! Mulungushi Textiles closed. Nitrogen Chemicals closed. This is because sometimes its cheaper to buy clothes abroad and buy fertiliser outside due to economies of scale and expensive inputs in the process. Same applies to fuel.
There is no security issue with whether we run Indeni or not because we still source the crude or the finished product from outside. If someone was to sabotage tankers abroad, they can do the same to the pipeline. Stop being an alarmist. Even if one wanted to make political sense, the numbers don’t do it. It wasn’t even a factor in the last elections.
Why don’t you release the report the PF made on Indeni we see who is telling the truth? Indeni Petroleum Refinery managing director David Lungu told ERB Board Chairperson ERB board chairperson Monde Kabwela just before the 2021 elections that his company had “constituted technical teams to make proposals aimed at improving operations at the company and create more jobs for Zambians.” You mean you, the mighty EM, Ambassador Extraordinaire, doesn’t have these plans and reports for us to intelligently look at?