Govt urged to tackle corruption in energy sector

Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) has urged the Malawi Government to put strict measures to prevent and penalize corruption in the energy sector.

CISONECC National Coordinator Julius Ng’oma observed that corruption has not spared the energy sector and continues to take a toll on the already inadequate resources allocated to it.

Ng’oma made the sentiments at a press briefing the network held in Lilongwe on Monday.

From left to right-Mkoka, Ng’oma, Ngirazie and Mwamkangama addressing journalists in Lilongwe on Monday–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“ Corruption has been bred by delayed procurement procedures. Corruption has been bred by lack of Transparency and Accountability on the utilization of funds. For instance, on 29th August, 2022 the Daily Times reported that about US$150 million, meant to save the country from the prolonged power outages the country has been experiencing since February, has been lying idle at the Ministry of Energy.

“As stakeholders in the energy sector, we would like to stress the need for duty bearers to uphold transparency and accountability to not only eliminate corrupt practices but also to ensure effective utilization of resources that should be put to good use for the benefit of all the citizens. This will lead to the fulfillment of the bill of rights in the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land,” he said.

A cross-section of the journalists that attended the CISONECC press briefing–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

At the presser, Ng’oma was flanked by chairperson of Rukulu Women Rice Processing Cooperative Limited, Elizabeth Mwamkangama, Christian Aid Climate Justice Coordinator, Lee Ngirazie, and Charles Mkoka of the Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ).

Reading a joint statement, Ngoma urged the government to prioritize the energy sector with the allocation of adequate finances from the national budget. He said non-state actors in the energy sector have witnessed the prioritization of other sectors in the national budget with the energy sector being allocated less than three percent of the total national budget.

“We would like to stress that energy is a driver of social and economic development anywhere globally. Much as Malawi can have the best development agendas such as the Malawi Vision 2063 and the energy advancement strategies outlined in the National Energy Policy and Malawi Renewable Energy Strategy; they all require adequate resources to be implemented and achieve the Sustainable Energy Access for All target come the year 2030,” he said.

In her remarks, Mwamkangama recommended that the government must promote investment in power generation through projects such as the Electricity Access Project and Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP), which are there to promote grid extension.

She applauded the Malawi Government efforts to scale up power to 1, 000 megawatts come 2025.

“We further commend development partners that have partnered the government in energy projects to support grid extension. The recent development, where Government of Malawi (GOM), IFC, Scatec and EDF signed a binding commercial agreement to undertake the co-development of the Mpatamanga Hydropower Project to produce 350 megawatts under Malawi’s Public-Private Partnership framework on 6th September, 2022 is therefore a very welcomed development worth commending in as far as revitalising the energy sector in Malawi is concern,” she said.

Mwamkangama further asked the government to provide effective regulation of renewable energy products, saying the intermittent electricity that Malawians are being subjected to has led to people purchasing renewable energy products such as solar panels, bulbs and batteries.

She observed that as demand for the products skyrockets, the influx of sub-standard products on the market has also gone up.

“We commend the government for setting up the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to regulate products on the market. However, such has not been the case. We therefore appeal to the government to promote importation of high-quality products by service providers. We also call upon MERA, as an energy regulator, to partner MBS to procure necessary equipment to support regulation of the renewable energy products on the market,” she said.

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