Only 35 percent of the $260 million (about K195 billion) meant for infrastructure development projects by the Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi (MCA-M)—the implementing agency of a five-year energy compact—has been disbursed with almost one and a half years left before its completion.
MCA-M, with $350.7 million (about K262 billion) funding from United States of America (USA), is implementing three projects in the country aimed at boosting electricity transmission.
The projects, which include increasing the generation capacity at Nkula A and the construction of 400 kilovolts (kV) transmission lines from Phombeya in Balaka to Nkhoma in Lilongwe, the construction of 132 kV lines from Nkhoma to Bunda Turn-off in Lilongwe and the construction of a substation at Bwengu, Mzimba, started in 2014 and are expected to end in September next year.
In an interview on the sidelines of a tree planting launch on Friday at Nkhorongo in Mzuzu, MCA-M chief executive officer Dye Mawindo said they are hopeful the remaining 65 percent will be disbursed on time as implementation of the projects is at an advanced stage.
“We have now signed contracts with all the eight contractors who are doing the major works and we are now in the implementation stage. Now we are looking at a period between now and September 19 2018 when the compact closes to spend the balance of the money,” he said.
Mawindo also said the amount will also fund all the project’s contingencies.
Among the companies that are implementing the projects are Indian firms Lasern and Toubro (L&T) Construction which is constructing the Phombeya Power Substation and Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited, which is erecting the 400kV and 132 kV overhead lines from Phombeya to Lilongwe and from Chintheche in Nkhata Bay to Bwengu in Mzimba via Luwinga in Mzuzu.
Kalpataru projects manager Rarnaji Rao said although the project is on track, they are facing challenges in acquiring land from owners.
“However, MCA-M is handling that and ensuring that we should have access to land,” he said.
Rao further said once the process is over, the project will move faster.
Upon completion, the project will be the base for interconnecting power from Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. n