As if to add credit to reports of a ‘governing pact’ between UDF and DPP, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Atupele Muluzi – the UDF president – used the launch of Escom customer service charter at Crossroad Hotel in Lilongwe on Thursday to articulate the vision of President Prof Peter Mutharika.
Muluzi, said the government is set out to deliver on Mutharika’s overarching vision, which he said is to bring about people-cantered economic growth at the rate of 7.5 % in the next 5 years.
“Our President speaks of inaugurating the rebirth of our nation, the lost dreams of our forefathers and fallen heroes. He speaks of pursuing our dreams that know no limits, no boundaries, and no skies. He has asserted that we declare ourselves ready for the next 50 years,” said Muluzi, adding “we therefore, cannot miss the opportunity to do so.”
In the same mode and delivery he made when he touted an ‘agenda for change’, Muluzi said over the past months, the Mutharika administration has had the opportunity to listen hard to what ordinary Malawians want and are saying.
“Malawians care for their country and they want it to prosper as well as assume its rightful place among other giants and economies within the region and beyond. Secondly, Malawians (especially the youth), want their economy to grow inclusively and to be guaranteed jobs, access to services, among others. Third, Malawians want inclusive and transparent institutions that ensure that resources invested in key sectors such as energy are used for their intended purpose,” he said.
Muluzi said his Ministry will soon unveil its four year energy plan which amongst others seeks to upgrade the transmission and distribution systems to reduce energy losses and improve both energy efficiency and transmission interconnections to diversify supply sources.
It will also increase the efficiency and capacity for electricity generation through the construction of new power plants.
He said the plans seeks to stay on course to meet maximum demand of 700 MW by 2018 and cater for needs of domestic customers expected to rise by 1 Million in 2030 and this includes extensive roll-out of the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) across the country.
Muluzi said the plan will establish critical fuel reserves in major cities of the country.
It will also reform power tariffs and address inefficiencies such as by ensuring 100% collection of bill payments, better recovery of costs, maintenance, distribution losses and capital budget execution.
“The Energy plan, once launched, intends to ensure that my Ministry delivers on its priorities within the context of the plan and delivers them well. Demonstrates results and that it is held to account for those results,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi said public services are not a privilege but they are “a legitimate expectation” that is why government recognizes the need for institutions to optimize access to their services to all Malawians, within the context of fiscal constraints and competing needs.
He said ESCOM has developed a Service Charter at a point where its installed capacity is just enough to meet its demand.
Muluzi said with high urbanization and growth in the housing and construction sector, ESCOM needs to embark on its expansion and rehabilitation programme for both transmission and distribution networks to be ahead of the game.
“My Ministry will give ESCOM all the support required to supply reliable, quality power and to improve its service delivery. The energy sector is a catalyst for economic change and transformation,” he said.
Muluzi said government longs for a day when ESCOM will eliminate blackouts or load shedding, a day when customer connections to power is done within 24-48 hours and indeed a day when the country will have “Power all Day every day” and Not “Moving towards Power’, saying “that is the day when the citizens of Malawi will have enhanced confidence in the services of ESCOM.”
He acknowledged efforts ESCOM is undertaking to improve service delivery and in its quest to supply reliable power to the country, saying the efforts will significantly contribute to the growth of the economy.
“I am delighted that ESCOM has embarked on this journey to improve service delivery and promote accountability to its stakeholders through the introduction of the Customer Service Charter,” he said.
However, he said the improvements in ESCOM’s service delivery may not happen overnight as it is a process that requires patience and support from all stakeholders.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :