Malawians question ESCOM’s and LWB’s MK5.9bn finances for Kenyatta Drive expansion project

Scores of Malawians have taken to social media, questioning why Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Lilongwe Water Board need (LWB) close to MK5.9 billion in order to execute their roles in the Kenyatta Drive six-lane expansion project.

The citizens also accuse the two utility bodies and the Roads Authority (RA) of “poor coordination and planning” in the project.

ESCOM is addressing the issues

Malawians’ anger comes after the local media reported that ESCOM and LWB require close to MK5.9 billion to enable the relocation of transmission lines, distribution lines and poles that are close to the road project.

ESCOM reportedly needs MK2 billion to buy materials and MK40 million to do the works while LWB is looking for MK3.9 billion to accommodate the MK19 billion six-lane project.

The situation reportedly explains, in part, why works on the road project have stalled “with no equipment on sight”.

And some Malawians on social media have launched a scathing attack on Escom and LWB, wondering why the two institutions are raising their issues now, long after the feasibility study was done and President Lazarus Chakwera laid the foundation stone for construction of the six lane.

“It goes back to proper planning and proper coordination by these entities in execution of such projects. Otherwise, we will have similar situations in all our cities and towns when carrying out road expansion programs in future,” Moses Kita says.

Winfred Brave Kayange suspects institutionalized corruption and sabotage by “ambassadors of the opposition” in ESCOM and LWB.

Marshal Madise says, “We joke too much. All that time before embarking on this big project, these institutions did not put that into consideration?”

“I guess there was no feasibility study before the project was approved. Anyway, let me focus on the flames for now,” Kondwani Ngalawango says.

Sheria Annie says, “Why on Earth is this coming out now? Were these entities not involved in the feasibility study? If only the public procurement system was good enough to handle this without inflated costs.”

“Who was doing the feasibility study? Was he paid or not? We demand to see a report of the feasibility study to see its effectiveness. Otherwise before embarking on the project, the entities should have known their roles and challenges and already planned how to handle them. Mwatizizimutsatu apa( you have taken us unawares). We feel you have just created a way to syphon our tax,” says Temwa Mkandawire.

ESCOM spokesperson Innocent Chitosi is reported to have said that the issue of the MK2 billion will be referred to the company’s board for guidance, as RA believes “such costs ought to be incurred by ESCOM.”

On the other hand, LWB spokesperson, Chisomo Chibwana, reportedly said the government’s treasury is aware of the company’s request for funds with regard to the Kenyatta Drive six-lane expansion project.

Treasury spokesperson Williams Banda reportedly said the treasury is looking into the matter and will make a communication at “an appropriate time”.

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