By JOHN SAKALA
Zeaco has been directed to suspend the employment of new staff and freeze all vacant positions unless in exceptional circumstances; restructure the company by streamlining operations and reduce the current workforce.
The Industrial Development Corporation under which Zesco falls has also directed the power utility company to abolish or merge functions or departments; review all planned adjustments in salaries which should be linked directly to both individual and overall performance of the company.
IDC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mateyo Kaluba says Zesco is expected to conduct a comprehensive review and restructuring of conditions of service particularly for those in management such as travel on company business, communication, provision of personal to holder vehicles, access to company products and services and any other such conditions that can be abolished, suspended or re-packaged to achieve significant cost reductions.
Other directives include: the suspension of planned expenditure on non-core activities; the suspension of any investments in projects or programmes not directly aligned to the efficient and effective delivery of electricity and the suspension of all international travel for training, conferences or seminars for a defined period.
Mr Kaluba says exceptions may be given for key international meetings in which Zesco’s participation is critical to the company’s performance.
He says Zesco should re-examine its strategies, operations and structures, in order to identify and implement measures to turn around the company.
In light of the more than 300MW power deficit currently being experienced, Zesco has been directed to take the lead in facilitating power generation for the country through renewable energy sources
In response, Zesco Board Chairperson, Mbita Chitala, has acknowledged the problems the company is going through, of which one was refinancing of its debt owed to Independent Power Producers (IPP) and settlement of arrears to suppliers.
Dr Chitala said Zesco is in the process of raising US$500 million bond to be used for settlement of the portion of the debt.
This is according to a statement issued by IDC Public Relations Manager Namakau Mukelabai.