Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has awarded key contracts for the construction of the 218 Kilometres transmission interconnector and Matambo Substation under the Mozambique - Malawi Interconnection Project (MOMA).
ESCOM Senior Project Manager Alex Kaitane disclosed this in Blantyre on Tuesday at a press briefing to update the public on the progress of the MOMA Project.
He said, L&T from India will do the construction works of transmission line and the extension of Phombeya, Sino hydro from China will take construction works at Matambo Substation Upgrade and both works will be supervised by Gopa Intec International from Germany.
"These have just been awarded in the past month. The contractors are now busy mobilising moving into design phase and then we shall proceed into the rest of the project," said Kaitane.
Kaitane said the project has now been scheduled to be completed end October 2023 and not December 2022 as initially targeted due to Covid-19 which affected works and organisation.
"The reason for the delays are mostly attributed to the coming of Covid-19 which came as we were already doing some preparatory works for the project and that affected our work and organisation.
"Just to mention, this project is being jointly managed or implemented by a team comprising of officers from EDM in Mozambique and ESCOM in Malawi in the Joint Project Implementation Unit.
"Before the pandemic we used to meet, discuss, resolve technical issues, and come up with documentation and so on. When Covid-19 came, that became a bit of a problem as we had to shift to online platforms which was difficult in the beginning but we managed to find a solution along the way hence being where we are now," said Kaitane.
On meeting the completion date, Kaitane said they have impressed upon the contractors and consultant to maximise the utilisation of local workforce who will always be around assuming they are hit by Covid-19 and they are not able to mobilise into the country.
Senior Project's Accountant, Joseph Kamwendo dismissed fears that the fluctuation of Kwacha might affect the project value saying the financing was initially made in United States (US) dollars and Euros.
"Most of the contracts have been given to international contractors who will be paid in dollars and all their quoting was also in dollars so there is not much impact due to Kwacha fluctuation," he said.
The MOMA project is being financed by World Bank, European Union through KfW and Government of Malawi through ESCOM. Its total cost is USD127 million. Once completed, it will add 50 Megawatts to the country's power grid.