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Parliament discusses energy sector woes

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Esther Jolobala

Parliamentarians Wednesday took turns in discussing ways of bringing sanity in the country’s energy sector in a bid to attract meaningful investment.

Among other things, the august House pushed for quick resolution of the feud between Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and the Power Market Limited over the single buyer role.

They were commenting on a report the Natural Resources Committee presented to the house recently.

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Committee chairperson Welani Chilenga told the house that Escom owes Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) about K65 billion and that the committee recommended that the single buyer role be pushed to Power Marketing Limited.

But reacting in an interview, Escom Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda rated this as misrepresentation of facts.

“Escom does not owe Egenco any money for energy delivered but has not been paying for undelivered energy which currently stands at K80 billion. The committee knows the facts but for reasons known to themselves choose to misrepresent the facts,” Kumwenda said.

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Before Chilenga’s remarks, several members of Parliament contributed to the matter, raising fears that if the wrangle between Escom and PML was not addressed in time, it would scare away investors in the energy sector.

Member of Parliament for Machinga East Esther Jolobala feared that the country’s dream to develop 1000 additional megawatts would not be achieved.

“We cannot achieve the 1000 megawatts if we continue disturbing the energy sector,” she said.

Lilongwe South legislator Peter Dimba warned against crippling Escom as it remains very critical to supplying energy which is crucial for development.

The house then referred the report back to the committee for further consultations.

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