United States’ high profile five year US$350 million Millennium Challenge Account(MCA) ends midnight on Thursday and officials say it has achieved its goals of expanding electricity distribution in the country.
MCC chief executive officer Dye Mawindo looks back at the mission as a success, saying through the project, Malawi has managed to install new facilities at Nkula A, construction two sub-power stations at Phombeya and Nkhoma and installed a 2400 kv power lines.
“Malawi has progressed tremendously through the project. We have now added 12 mega-watts of electricity at Nkula A which now produces 36 mega-watts down from 24 mega-watts. This is an improvement,” he said.
On several occasions, the US threatened to withdraw the project money because of corruption mainly in the procurement of project materials.
However, Mawindo said Malawi adhered to the rule of law, good governance, transparency and accountability in the execution of the project.
The US funded project was mainly aimed at modernizing electricity transmission and distribution network.
The projects include modernizing Nkula A power generation plant and the construction of the 400 kilovolts transmission lines from Phombeya in Balaka to Nkhoma in Lilongwe, the 132kv lines from Nkhoma to Bunda Turn Off and the construction of sub-stations at Bwengu in Rumphi, Nkhoma and Phombeya.
Malunga said the government of Malawi will now take over the project for four to six months to finish off the remaining fine tuning project aspects.
Energy expert Grain Malunga has congratulated the government for having finished the project within the given five years, saying most governments fail.
“The US government is very strict on project rule of law, good governance, transparency and accountability which most governments fail to implement,” he said.
Malunga said it was now up to the government of Malawi to increase the production of electricity after the project increased the distribution network.
Meanwhile, United States of America (US) Ambassador Virginia Palmer has called for swift action and prosecution of those involved in the theft of 4.2 million litres of diesel for generators and misprocurement of goods worth K5 billion at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
According to published report, Palmer said problems of misprocurement, corruption and mismanagement needed to be dealt with swiftly.
“They’ve bought things they don’t need to buy, there are stories of theft of fuel and that is very wrong and very upsetting. I hope that they will take very swift and stern action, people will get fired and people will be brought to justice,” said Palmer in quotes reported by The Nation.
The envoy observed that a good financial standing of Escom was crucial to convincing private sector companies to invest in new power generation plants in Malawi.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima first revealed about the fuel theft at a public rally of his United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Escom says it is still investigating the 4.2 million litres theft as it suspects collusion between drivers, fuel attendants, guards and Aggreko staff.
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