7 June 2014

Malawi: Millennium Challenge Account Courts Chiefs On Power Reform Project

Mzuzu — Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Malawi has asked people in the Northern region whose land and property will be affected by the Power Sector Revitalization Project to cooperate when asked to relocate to other areas.

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) allocated US$350.7 million to MCA-Malawi programmes designed to increase incomes and reduce poverty by stimulating Malawi's power sector and to ensure availability, reliability and quality of the power supply. The power reform project, to be implemented by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), was allocated US$25.7 million.

On Thursday, MCA-Malawi started meeting traditional leaders in the North to sensitize them on the project which will involve installation of beacons in various villages where power transmission lines will pass through.

MCA-Malawi Communications and Outreach Director Zilani Khonje said chiefs are being courted to create a sense of ownership of the project among villagers.

She said chiefs are in close contact with their subject and have no problem convincing them of the imminent project which will see some losing their land and property in areas where overhead power lines will pass through.

"This project is starting from Chintheche to Bwengu and the lines are passing through villages which will affect some people and other fields. The sensitization is of essence as it would help chiefs to talk to their subjects on what they should expect," Khonje said.

She added that construction work will not start until all the consultations are done and the affected persons' grievances are addressed and compensation is made.

"Our office has Resettlement Act Plan (RAP) personnel who will also go to the villages affected and talk to them on how they will be resettled after their land has been taken for the initiative," she said.

On Thursday, the MCA-Malawi team visited Escom Sub-Station at Luwinga and surrounding villages, Enukweni villages and Bwengu Sub-Station and surrounding villages.

The power sector reform project seeks to increase the capacity and stability of the national electricity grid and boost the efficiency and sustainability of hydropower generation.

It will also ensure an enabling environment for future expansion. As a result, it is expected that there will be reduced energy costs to enterprises and households; thereby improving productivity in the agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors of Malawi's economy.

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