Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Werani Chilenga says Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP) has boosted economic activities in rural areas as many people now have access to electricity.
The Deputy Minister was speaking on Wednesday during the switching on ceremony for Chiphaka Village Power line under MAREP phase 8 in Senior Chief Mwadzama in Nkhotakota.
He said the program is improving rural livelihoods in areas where the program has been implemented as people start opening small businesses such as salons and barbershops, among others, with the coming of electricity in rural trading centres.
"MAREP 8 means that more people will have access to electricity and their businesses will boom, hence improvement of their socio-economic status.
"The program is helping those areas which were lagging behind in terms of economic activities," the deputy minister said.
He added that 336 areas have been electrified and other 270 centres are expected to be electrified under the program, to ensure that more people in rural areas have access to electricity.
Government is increasing the country's electricity generation capacity to ensure that more people are connected to the power grid.
Chilenga, however, warned communities who want to have power in their homes and business places to engage Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) to avoid accidents that come due to illegal connections of electricity.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Mwadzama thanked government for lighting up the area.
He said the area had been lagging behind in socio-economic development because people were not able to engage in businesses that require electricity.