Members of Parliament (MPs) Thursday demanded an explanation from Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola over delays in implementation of phase nine of the Malawi Rural Electrification Project (Marep 9).
MP for Kasungu North Constituency Mike Bango said the ministry was yet to call for contractors of the work which is aimed is to increasing access to electricity for people in peri- urban and rural areas.
Bango implored on the ministry to consider speeding up the program which has been postponed a number of times at the expense of purported beneficiaries in the various parts of the country.
In his response Matola said the delays have been due to reasons that are beyond the control of his Ministry but said procurement of materials for the works is currently underway.
“True Marep 9 has been postponed twice and the reasons for that have been beyond the control of my Ministry. I would like to state however that we will soon be placing adverts so that contractors to do the actual work can apply,” Matola said.
He said currently a team has been deployed to various trading centers in order to ensure that the equipment being procured matches the needs on the ground.
Dissatisfied with the response MP for Dedza South Constituency Ishmael Onani asked why the Ministry is unable to concurrently procure materials and contractors.
Corroborating Onani MP for Zomba Chisi Constituency asked for a Ministerial statement on the matter and other energy related issues in the country, further raising concern that energy challenges are serious and continue to affect Malawi’s socio-economic development.
But Matola said government is currently removing all bottlenecks in the Programme.
“We are speeding up the processes and are removing all bottlenecks because we realize there are a number of trading centers earmarked to benefit from Marep 9 which will spur business activities in those areas and in return improve the economic welfare of our people,” he said.
In 2021 the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) ordered Ministry of Energy to restart the procurement process for materials under Marep 9 following complaints alleging irregularities and suspected corruption surrounding the procurement process.