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Government to probe loans

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President Lazarus Chakwera has said his administration is investigating some government loans that were acquired before he ascended to the country’s top leadership position.

He said the country was failing to recover from current economic hardships because of those loans.

Chakwera said this in Salima District Tuesday, when he switched on a 60 megawatts (mw) solar power facility valued at $75 million [K61.1 billion].

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“The country is struggling to meet International Monetary Fund and World Bank standards just because, in the past years, some individuals signed huge loans that have put pressure on the country’s economy. It is disappointing to see that the huge amount of loans will continue to haunt generations to come,” he said.

Chakwera welcomed the 60mw solar power facility, describing it as the first in Malawi to connect to the national grid.

He said the government’s desire was to reach the target of 1,000mw with private sector support.

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The President ordered Secretary for Energy and the Director of Energy to bring a report to his office of every Independent Power Producer (IPP) that has written the Ministry of Energy in the past two years to express interest in investing in the energy sector.

Chakwera’s order comes amid reports that some IPPs’ applications were gathering dust at the Ministry of Energy.

“We simply cannot afford to be wasteful of investment offers that come our way. We cannot, and we must not, allow that to happen,” the President said.

JCM Chief Executive Officer Christian Wray said they had developed a regulatory framework that would serve as a template for future renewable energy projects in the country.

British High Commission Chargé d’affaires Fiona Ritchie said the United Kingdom (UK) was proud of the collaboration on the JCM Salima Project, where one of its development finance vehicles ‘Infra Co Africa’ is a project shareholder through an equity investment of about 25 percent.

“Through Infra Co Africa, the UK is also directly investing in JCM’s Golomoti sister project through an equity investment of about 49 percent while also providing grant funding for the state-of-the-art battery component which will ensure the stability of the grid,” Ritchie said.

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