A week has gone now with jeopardised business at the Regional Government Complex which houses key government offices in Blantyre following disconnection of electricity by State-run Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
Escom disconnected the power last week due to unpaid bills by the Ministry of Lands, which acts as the landlord for the building.
The building houses key government offices in the Southern Region including the Blantyre District Commissioner’s office, Fiscal Police, Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, Office of the President and Cabinet, Information Department and the Lands Department.
A government employee in the building, who opted for anonymity, told The Business Times that since last week, most employees are not showing up for work.
Escom Public Relations Officer Peter Kanjere confirmed that the power utility cut off power from the building following the accumulation of an electricity bill to K9 million.
Kanjere added that the power supplier cuts off electricity after it has accumulated for 30 days and, in the case of the government building, it will be reconnected once the bill has been cleared.
He said Escom is migrating customers on post-paid meters to pre-paid in all government ministries , departments and agencies (MDAs), adding that they have already connected some and are just waiting for authorisation to implement it.
“You may wish to know that these departments get funding to pay for electricity bills but, for unknown reasons, they choose not to pay. Non-payment affects our operations and cash flow since Escom has to pay VAT and producers using loans,” Kanjere said.
Deputy Minister of Lands Deus Gumba and Ministry of Lands spokesperson Enock Chingoni did not pick up our call despite several attempts.
The Minister of Lands has no fulltime minister.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.