Lilongwe — President Dr. Joyce Banda has emphasized on the need for the country to generate more electricity in order to boost the economic base.
Dr. Banda made the remarks on Thursday in Lilongwe when she switched on electricity at Chadza Trading Center which is under the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) phase seven.
The President said Malawi as a country had not been developing economically because a number of rural areas were not connected with electricity.
She noted that without electricity power, people failed to engage in economic activities such as small scale businesses hence, contributing little to the economic development of the country.
"Fellow Malawians electricity remains one of the key areas which if fully implemented and utilized could improve economic status of our country. It is no longer a secret that many of our rural areas do not have electricity and this has been a major barrier for Malawians especially in rural set up to participate in some of the economic activities purposely for the development of this country," President Banda explained.
She assured that under MAREP project and her administration, she would connect as many rural areas as possible with the sole aim of lifting the status of Malawians living in the rural areas as well as giving them a forum to participate to the economic development of the country through small scale businesses.
"My vision is to see that people in the rural are provided with the same services as those living in towns. I will not stop developing rural areas and ensure that the life of the people is improved because that has been my passion for so many years," she said.
Phase seven of the MAREP Programme intends to connect about 81 trading centers across the country and Chadza trading center is one of the 27 centers that have been so far connected with electricity.
Minister of Energy and Mines, Ibrahim Matola said Government is negotiating with the government of Japan and companies from the People's Republic of China to rehabilitate Tedzani Hydroelectric station.
Matola also disclosed that through the Millennium Challenge Compact funded by the government of the United States of America (USA) production of electricity would improve as Nkula Hydro station would be fixed with new electricity generating machines.
"Apart from the old stations, a research conducted by the World Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) revealed that it is possible to establish min hydro electric power station in Chazombwa in Karonga , Kamwamba in Neno and other areas where we have potential rivers to generate electricity," the minister said.
He also noted that with enough electricity, the country would be able to extract and process some of its minerals thereby generating enough money for the development of the country.
Matola further explained that with electricity it would also be easy for the country to woo investors in different sectors to come and invest in the country while at the same attracting more tourists.
Zinkwani Kalanguluka of Chadza, one of the beneficiaries and owner of a maize mill which President Banda switched on symbolizing the commissioning of electricity in the area commended government particularly the President for making their dream a reality.
Kalanguluka said the coming of electricity would necessitate them to venture into various businesses which in turn would improve their economic status.
"We are more than happy to see this development materializing, we expect to make good use of it and we also hope that our life will never remain the same," Kalanguluka explained.
Traditional Authority (TA) Malili hailed the President for carrying about a number of projects which aimed at lifting the lives of the rural poor. He cited MAREP project as one of the basic programmes if fully implemented would face lift the rural places as well enable the rural mass participate in the economic activities of the country.
Under MAREP phase seven about 7,750 customers are expected to be connected with electricity consuming about 18 megawatts of energy.