Representatives of the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) have said construction of a $1 billion (about K750 billion) 350 megawatts hydroelectricity power plant at Mpatamanga gorge in Blantyre is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2022 once private financiers of the project have been identified.
This follows a visit by members of a cluster committee consisting the parliamentary committee on agriculture and on natural resources to the site to appreciate how the environment will be conserved when the project commence.
Briefing the committee members Egenco Chief Executive Officer, William Liabunya, said currently they are in the process of identifying financiers for the project.
“We are currently discussing with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) because it will be a Public Private Partnership arrangement, at the moment we are procuring the strategic partner who will be responsible to bring in the Private partners.
“Our financing as the Malawi government will come from the World Bank, we will get 30 percent from the project, we will also have IFC getting 15 percent and the rest from the strategic partner. We expect to get the approvals at World Bank and get the financing conclusion by the last quarter of next year,” Liabunya said.
He said that the project will commence in 2022 and is expected to be complete by 2026.
Chairperson of the Cluster committee, Welani Chilenga, said they were impressed with the project in general but expressed reservations towards overreliance of the Shire River for hydro-electricity generation.
“This is a good project which will reduce blackouts the nation has been facing, however, our concern is that as a country we are putting our eggs in one basket. We have Mkula A and B, we have Tedzani 1 and 2, we have Kapichira all on Shire River.
“Looking at the fact that that the river depends on Lake Malawi and the Lake Malawi is supplied with water by rivers that come from other countries, if those countries decide to dam the rivers we will be in very big trouble,” Chilenga said.
The country continues to grapple with power challenges which have affected the growth of the manufacturing industry thereby impacting on the growth of the economy as a whole.