Sole power provider, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) owes the country’s commercial banks and companies money amounting to K40 billion.
This is despite waves of load shedding that have, for years, dwindled business in the country.
According to Escom’s CEO Alexon Chiwaya, the debt dates back to last year.
This was revealed during a familiarization tour which Energy Minister Newton Kambala had at the institution’s Chichiri power station on Monday.
Kambala has tasked officials at the energy supplier to provide a detailed report on how the debts came about.
“We have received a report from Escom management that they are struggling with debts from banks and they also have little access to loans from suppliers because they haven’t paid them for a long time.
“The ministry wants to unlock the company so that it should start providing better services to the general public,” said the minister.
Kambala told the media after touring Escom’s National Control Centre that management will be asked to write a report why they ended up with such huge debts to see how the government can come in to assist.
The minister noted that the utility company is struggling to provide efficient services because of poor financing.
Kambala also said it is disheartening that Escom has been plundered by unscrupulous politicians from the past government such as the massive siphoning of fuel by non-members of staff, most of whom were connected by the previous government.
He said once Escom presents its report, the new government is set to make sure that such corruption should be stopped once and for all to help the corporation stabilize in order to provide excellent services to the people and the industry.
“The government wants to make sure that Escom should be protected from corruption and we will see how the Ministry of Finance can come in.
“From now on, we want Escom and other parastatals to be prudent enough on how they use their resources. People should not be stealing money from institutions,” he said.
One of the suppliers Escomowes money to is its sister company, Electricity Generation Company (Malawi) Ltd (Egenco) and when asked if this company is necessary, Kambala said there was need to assess if Egenco is serving its purpose well.
He said the idea to delink Escom’s services was necessary at the point it was initiated but government might consider to evaluate if Egenco is still needed.
The Minister said from what he had been familiarized with on his tour of Escom’s National Control Centre, the company’s technology operations have improved to provide good services.
Of late power load shedding has minimized mostly as Escom is utilising fully the power generators at Power Station managed by Aggreko.
Chiwaya said due to the Covid-19 pandemic most of the industries where most of the company’s revenue comes from have been shut down and thus they fail to honour their debts
He also said they were generating less that 300 megawatts from the needed 800 megawatts which made them generate inadequate revenue.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :