By Nawa Mutumweno – The Sub-Saharan Gemstone Exchange (SGE) of Zambia and Maysen and Borowski Group of Australia have signed a $3.3 billion deal to construct an oil refinery, dry ports and housing units in Ndola on the Copperbelt.
12 000 jobs will be created during the construction period with another 5 000 once it becomes operational. The oil refinery is scheduled to be constructed in the next five years.
“We are very excited about this project. It has come at the right time when the demand for fuel and other by-products is on the rise in the country,” said SGE chairman Phesto Musonda at the signing ceremony held in Ndola on February 15, 2012.
The refinery project will also increase the refinery capacity of the country in addition to contributing significantly to the country’s economy, he added.
It is a fact that Zambia’s economic growth has been affected, to a great extent, by the cost of fuel products and once completed, the new plant will help to lower fuel prices, thus attracting more foreign investors to Zambia.
The project encompasses the construction of a pipeline, warehouses, dry ports and housing units.
Zambia will also have capacity to export fuel to neighbouring countries in the SADC region. The new oil refinery will have a capacity of five million tonnes per annum. This will see Zambia pump more than five times the current capacity at its four decades-old Indeni Oil Refinery, also situated in Ndola. The pipeline to Dar-es-Salaam will be 1 800 km long.
And finance and corporate services manager from Maysen and Borowski Group, Mathews Borowski said Zambia has a lot of potential and that his company is pleased to invest in the country.
“The oil refinery plant will help to reduce the prices of fuel in the country and also create jobs for Zambians,” he pointed out.
He commnded Government for tabling the idea on the sidelines of the Commonwealth meeting in Perth, Australia last year.
Speaking at the same event, minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Bob Sichinga said the project was viable, hence the need for the two companies to remain focused in the implementation of the project.
“As Government, we are tasked to facilitate for investment in the country. With such projects taking place, we will renew the hope of our people to reduce poverty levels and improve living standards. What we want to see is a win, win situation where both investors and Zambians benefit,” he enthused.