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MPs fault ministry on Marep funds

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By Wezzie Gausi

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources has said it is not impressed with the management of the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) funds.

This comes as the funds have been lying idle for close to two years.

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Marep aims at increasing access to electricity for people in peri-urban and rural areas as part of government’s effort to reduce poverty, transform rural economies, improve productivity and improve the quality of social services.

Chairperson for the committee Werani Chilenga said it is sad that the ministry is failing to disclose the amount in the Marep account.

He, however, said the committee is informed that over K70 billion is idle in the Marep account despite the suggestion that K10 billion should be channelled to the fixing of Kapichira power station.

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“Today the minister was in Parliament and when I asked him to give details of Marep funds he failed to explain to the house.

“As a committee, we are not impressed with how these funds are being managed. We fear that lack of transparency may cause political interference on the funds. It has been close to two years and the programme is not being implemented,” Chilenga said.

Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni asked for time to comment on the matter.

Marep was set up in line with the Rural Electrification Master Plan formulated in 2003.

Last week, Ministry of Energy Deputy Director responsible for Rural Electrification Patrick Silungwe said the delay to roll out the K50 billion Marep Phase IX will result in fewer people benefiting and cost 40 percent more due to rising cost of materials.

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