By Malawi News Agency
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) – Malawi, Dye Mawindo, has said the current efforts to revamp the energy sector would soon bear fruits, saying current works were at 60 percent complete.
“I can rate the progress in rehabilitation and construction of various infrastructures in the energy sector with support from Millennium Challenge Corporation at 60 percent,” Mawindo said, adding that construction of Phombeya and Nkhoma sub – stations were at an advanced stage.
Mawindo said the upgrading and rehabilitation of Nkula Hydropower Station was going on steadily and that work at David Whitehead, Mibawa and Ntonda in Blantyre and Thyolo, which would increase and stabilize national electricity grid, were progressing well.
“It is our expectation that most of the projects under phase one of infrastructure development would be completed by April or May next year (2018),” he added.
Mawindo was speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency on Saturday after the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining toured the construction of Electricity Supply Corporation Malawi’s (ESCOM) 400/132kv Phombeya sub – station and 400kv overhead line in Balaka.
Mawindo said constructing of the sub-stations was the most expensive project as it would cost close to USD40 million (K29.4 billion) when completed by July next year (2018),” he said.
“What it means is that we don’t have to stop at nothing until we achieve our aspiration of having the interconnector with Mozambique and Zambia in keeping with the Southern African Power Pool agenda,” Mawindo said.
“Hopefully, in future the interconnector in the northern corridor through Bwengu will materialize from Tanzania,” he added.
He said all such initiatives were meant to set the stage for future expansion of the energy sector.
According to the MCA official, the amendment of the Electricity Bill in Parliament last year (2016) paved way for independent power producers to join the sector.
On this note, the CEO said through the Public Service Reforms, environmental management issues which affect power generation at the major hydropower stations of Kapichira, Nkula and Tedzani would be given priority.
“You will appreciate that we are spending close to USD25 million to arrest the problem of deforestation which leads to siltation as people continuously cut down trees as a source of livelihood.
“We would like to make people explore other avenues of earning a living other than depending on trees for charcoal production,” Mawindo said.
Earlier, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Masi, expressed satisfaction with the progress in the construction of Phombeya sub – station, saying government would remain committed to improving the energy sector in the country.
“As government, we are quite aware of the frustrations that people have with the frequent power outages. But we are working around the clock to have the problem of load shedding addressed once and for all,” Masi assured.
The MCC – Malawi Compact is designed to increase individual and business incomes and reduce poverty by improving the availability, reliability and quality of power supply, expand access, reduce the cost and revitalize the power sector, among others.