Road under construction

Chint Electric Company, a Chinese company working on projects in Malawi, said the country has too many public holidays. These holidays are affecting the timely completion of construction work such as the ones his company is working on, new electricity sub-stations under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

Construction Manager for Chint Electric Company, Lyu Guozhu, expressed concern Tuesday during a media tour, organised by Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to the new Bwengu and Luwinga sub-stations.

“Malawi has got a lot of public holidays, so we cannot force our workers here to work during public holidays; then we will be against the labour laws of the country,” Guozhu said.

According to the 2017 calendar, Malawi has had eight public holidays from January to June this year.

Guozhu added that constant rainfall is another challenge that causes delays of construction work.

“This part of the country too [Northern region], received a lot of rains in the past five months, which has also been our challenge,” he said.

However, Guozhu said he was optimistic that the construction of new sub-stations of Bwengu, Luwinga, Chintheche and Bunda in Lilongwe under the US$350 million compact project, shall be completed as planned.

“I can assure you, we are going to meet the target despite these challenges. If they will be some delays, then we can only add two months,” he said.

Guozhu said so far, 70 percent of the construction work of the sub stations across the country, has already been completed.

Chint Electric Company is supposed to finish constructing all the four sub-stations in the country by December this year.

Construction works on the four sites are running concurrently.

On her part, MCA’s Communications and Outreach Director, Zilani Khonje, said despite some challenges, MCA is satisfied with the progress of the project.

“We are optimistic and confident that come September 2018, we shall have finished almost the whole project,” she said.

MCA is a government trust that is managing an electricity grant of US$350.7 million aimed at supporting Malawi`s energy sector. The grant is being used to construct Phombeya, Nkhoma and Sonda sub stations. It is also financing the upgrading of Bwengu, Chintcheche, Luwinga, and Bunda sub stations.

The project will also replace existing transmission lines, to increase transmission capacity from 66Kv to 132 kilovolts.