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Committee summons SPC, AG over PML

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Grace Malera

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has summoned Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba, Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda and others to a meeting over a letter from Escom Staff Union (ESU) asking the Ombudsman to probe the recruitment of Power Market Limited (PML) management.

The Daily Times has gathered that the meeting is scheduled for July 20 2022.

In a letter to Ombudsman Grace Malera, ESU also argues that PML is operating illegally and that the licence of a Single Buyer was illegally transferred to the institution.

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Other officials summoned include Malera, Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Peter Simbani and Escom officials.

Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of Parliament Chairperson Werani Chilenga confirmed the development.

“Dust is refusing to settle between Escom and PML. All we know is that all this is coming from the functions of the Single Buyer licence. We want the government, being the big shareholder of PML, to address the issue once and for all.

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“The country is in a power crisis but, instead of the players working together, they are busy putting each other in the mud. How do we expect to get the power back? What is happening is uncalled for and very retrogressive to the growth of the energy sector in Malawi.

“If things continue like this, we will not meet the target of [generating] 2,000 megawatts by 2030,” Chilenga said.

Recently, the Natural Resources Justice Network said wrangles between Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi and PML were thwarting reforms happening in the energy sector.

Since the Single Buyer Licence was given to PML in 2019, there have been disagreements between Escom and PML, with the former refusing to surrender the function of the licence, which was formerly under the utility.

The network’s chairperson Kossam Munthali said it is uncalled for to see two government institutions fighting while Central Government officials are watching.

Appearing before a parliamentary committee last year, Attorney General Nyirenda made it clear that Escom was acting illegally in clinging to the functions of the Single Buyer as the license was for PML.

Nyirenda also gave Escom up to December 31 2021 to surrender the function, something that did not happen.

Early this year, the country lost about 130 megawatts of electricity from Kapichira Power Plant and 78 megawatts from Aggreko. In the Kapichira case, this was due to Tropical Storm Ana-induced floods while, in the Aggreko case, the government decided to sever ties with the energy supplier.

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