By Manasse Nyirenda, MANA
The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Binton Kutsaira has said the Government of Malawi is working towards reaching up to 50 percent of the population with electricity by the year 2025.
The Minister said this on Wednesday during the launch of National Energy Policy at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
The Minister said he was optimistic that the launch of the revised National Energy Policy would provide direction towards attainment of increased access to affordable, reliable efficient, sustainable and modern energy for everyone in the country.
“As you have heard from the various presentations and from your own experience, the country now is facing so many challenges in the power sector. To deal with these challenges we have to be dynamic in our policy.
“The old policy of 2003 was not addressing the challenges we are having now. We need reforms. For example the unbundling of Escom into two major companies, Egenco and ESCOM was not reflected in the 2003 policy.
“ We have to make sure that the plans we are making should be in tandem with what our policy says. The policy is our guiding document on how we are going to address the power challenge,” he said.
The minister also applauded support from various stakeholders led by the World Bank.
World Bank Energy Specialist, Paul Mukiibi said that the World Bank is supporting Malawi in a number of projects aimed at improving power generation and access in the country.
“We are doing both the on-grid and off-grid support. On the on-grid side over the past five years we are supporting ESCOM to connect as much as 280,000 new connections.
“In terms of electricity supply we are now supporting the Malawi- Mozambique interconnector which is a $130million project. That money is sourced from other donors as well.
“ As World Bank we are contributing on the Malawi side with $15million. On the generation side we are supporting the Mpatamanga hydro project with $350million,” he said.
United Nations Development Program resident representative, Shigeki Komatsubara hailed the launch as a move in the right direction.
The revised National Energy Policy which also addresses Power Market Policy and Fuel importation Policy among others calls for diversified energy sources and opens the door for private sector participation in the electricity sector with the main goal of increasing access to clean, sustainable, efficient and modern energy for Malawians.
Currently, only 11 percent of Malawians have access to electricity. Members of the business community and academia among others patronised the launch.