LUSAKA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said on Wednesday that it was finalizing the process of finding an equity strategy partner for its sole oil refinery.
Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa said that negotiations to find a strategic partner for Indeni Oil Refinery were at an advanced stage and that the process should be concluded by March this year, according to state-run broadcaster Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
Zambia agreed last year to sell 49 percent of the shares of the oil refinery to a strategic equity partner in order to improve operations and the candidate firms were asked to submit bids.
The government short-listed five out of seven firms that had submitted bids for a stake in the state-owned oil refinery which has been facing operational challenges due to lack of investment.
With a design capacity of 1.1 million tons per year and a current output of 850,000 tons per year, the oil firm's production was far short of Zambia's combined demand of petrol and diesel currently in excess of 1.7 billion liters per year, according to the Industrial Development Corporation, a government agency responsible for managing the oil refinery.