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MCA optimistic to beat deadline

The Millennium Challenge Account Malawi (MCA-M) is optimistic of completing all its project plans before the end of the project period slated for December 2017.

MCA is implementing the Compact Project through funding from the US Government focusing largely on developing Malawi’s energy sector.

MCA-M Chief Executive Officer, Susan Banda, told journalists in Blantyre on Tuesday that the firm has already made good progress in the project implementation and that they are on the right track to absorb all the US$350 million funding before the project period expires.

MCA started its operations in Malawi two years ago and according to Banda, there is hope that all the outlined works will be completed before the project reaches its cut-off point, hence, suspending a possibility of losing out on some of the funds.

“Based on the work plans we have received from our contractors, we believe that we will be able to meet the deadline. Most of the timelines and work plans indicate that the works will be done by either end of December 2017 or within the first quarter of 2018,” said Banda.

She said already, seven contracts within the project scope have been signed to facilitate the ground work with two more yet to be signed within the first quarter of the year.

According to Banda, by end of last year, the firm had already signed off about US$181 million for various projects as well as settling most compensation demands.

“There are about 6,000 people affected by this project. We have already started compensating the affected people and by August we will have finalised the process ,” she said.

Principal Secretary in the ministry of Energy and Mining Ben Botolo said government was impressed with the progress of the project so far.

“They have done a satisfactory job. We have seen contracts signed and market restructuring processes commencing as well as the compensation requirements being fulfilled,” said Botolo.

The project will among others revitalise Malawi’s power sector by upgrading electricity infrastructure and improving the performance of key institutions within the energy and power supply sector.

Critical components include infrastructure development at the Nkula A Hydro Power Station, which will increase its capacity by 25 percent, from the current 24 megawatts to 36 megawatts.

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