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K30 billion set for Marep 8

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Over K30 billion has been secured through the rural electrification fund for the eighth phase of the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) earmarked to electrify over 397 centres countrywide.

About K8 billion was used during Marep 7 implementation.

The project is aimed at increasing access to electricity for rural and peri-urban communities in the country in a bid to transform rural economies and reduce poverty.

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Ironically, it coincides a time Malawi is still grappling with energy woes as electricity demand has in the recent past increased sharply.

Malawi’s installed power supply is now pegged at around 351 megawatts in normal circumstances, while demand is at 360 megawatts.

Minister of Energy, Bright Msaka, remains upbeat that the country will in the shortest time narrow the gap.

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He told journalist after witnessing delivery of some materials for the project in Blantyre on Monday.

Msaka said the government is partly banking on the Independent Power Producers to increase input to the national power grid.

“We are increasing power generation in the country; already we have advertised for various energy sources. So, whoever, we will connect through Marep 8 will receive power,” Msaka said.

He said through the eighth phase, the government eyes to further broaden and increase both transmission and distribution network throughout the country.

Msaka said the project is likely to commence in July.

Meanwhile, through the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) the government is engaging potential contractors for the project.

Under Marep phase 7, 137 centers across the country were electrified.

Statistics indicate that Malawi’s energy generation requirement will escalate to 829 megawatts come 2020.

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