Construction in the Millennium Challenge Account – Malawi Compact supported electricity project is being delayed amidst recurring misunderstandings with land owners on compensation issues, with only 15 months remaining to the end of the project.
The development was revealed when MCA – Malawi and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources hosted Members of Parliament to update them on the progress of the compact.
The compact is a US$351 million grant agreement between the Government of Malawi and the United States of America (USA) to implement the power sector reforms in Malawi which if unlocked has the potential to bring in more investments.
MCA Malawi Compact Chief Executive Director Dye Mawindo said the challenges are common where land is required for the construction of overhead lines and land owners are expected to be compensated.
However, he said in some circumstances, land owners who were already compensated are still coming back for more money.
“The problem is whilst we are engaging them; they want the contractor not to do any work. That is why we are asking the honorable members of parliament to intercede on our behalf and assure their constituents that MCA Malawi is not going to run away. If there is a deserving case that needs to be resolved, we are there to resolve those challenges but they should allow the contractors to continue doing their work,” said Mawindo.
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Bright Msaka said this was unfortunate development especially when it is happening with people who were fully and generously compensated.
“That is very unfortunate. We would like to emphasize the point that this project is going to end on the September 20, 2018 and everything that is planned must be completed. In this case, every single day that we lose jeopardizes the completion timeframe. So we are appealing to the members of the general public to ensure that those who have received compensation not to cause delays to this project,” he said.
Msaka said meeting also provided the chance for his ministry and MCA to request parliamentarians to support the efforts made by interacting with community leaders to ensure that these misunderstandings are sorted out.