Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining Aggrey Massi on Saturday switched on Msosa Power Line to mark the official lighting of Gawanani Trading Centre in Traditional Authority Nkula in Machinga as part of the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) Phase 8.
Marep seeks to increase access to electricity to rural and peri-urban communities to transform economies and reduce poverty.
With 85 percent of small and medium enterprises in rural areas, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the programm is expected to boost businesses in rural areas and help cooperatives preserve their products, including milk.
Speaking at the switching-on ceremony of the power line held at Gawanani Health Centre in Machinga District, Masi reiterated government's commitment to end power black-outs in the country.
He said government has lined up a number of projects aimed at increasing the power capacity, thereby ending power shortage in the country.
"The switching on of this power line demonstrates government's commitment to provide more Malawians with electricity including those living in rural areas," he said.
He said electricity is a catalyst for development, adding that government, through MAREP 8 is electrifying 336 trading centres across the country.
So far, MAREP 8 has electrified seven other trading centres in Machinga namely Mtambo, Mangamba, Ntholowa, Chiguni, Chabwera and Nanyumbu.
Speaking during the occasion, Paramount Chief Kawinga commended government for the installation of the power line, saying electricity is likely to transform people's lives in the area.
"People have been looking forward to government and this day marks the new beginning of life for people of Gawanani and surrounding areas. They will now be able to do their businesses even during odd hours.
"For sure, young people are likely to venture into small and medium business through this project. For this, we are very grateful to government for considering us," he said.
Turning to the community, the Paramount Chief advised them to make good use of the electricity and avoid vandalizing the electricity equipment.
He said the sustainability of the power line depends on the attitude and behaviour of the community.
"This Power Line belongs to us. So let us take care of the equipment by avoiding undesirable behaviour," he said.
He also asked government to consider electrifying other rural areas in the district as the program advances.
President Peter Mutharika launched MAREP phase 8 on 5th April, this year (2018) at Ngolowera Primary School in Mulanje and is estimated to be completed towards the end of the year.
Initially, government had set aside K16 billion to connect 122 trading centres nationwide, according to the Malawi Government Annual Economic Report of 2016.
However, the funding has been increased to K30 billion with over 360 trading centres expected to be connected to the national grid.
Funds for MAREP phase 8 come from the Rural Electrification Fund.