Two influential groupings, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) and the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), have asked three politicians sitting on Escom Board “to honourably resign”.
In their presentations yesterday in Blantyre during a public hearing organised by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) on a proposal by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to increase its electricity tariffs by 58 percent, the two organisations said the politicians on the board would influence business decisions.
MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira, speaking at the meeting, attended by Escom board chairperson Morgan Tembo and Escom chief executive officer John Kandulu, demanded that the three politicians belonging to President Joyce Banda’s ruling People’s Party (PP) must step down if they have any integrity.
In November 2012, the President appointed PP acting secretary general Paul Maulidi, deputy administrative secretary Joseph Chikwemba and executive committee member Noah Chimpeni to serve on the Escom Board.
Minus three ex-officio members, the Escom Board comprises seven members.
The MCCCI CEO feared the politicians may influence decisions, arguing if government wants to maintain the status quo, then all political parties should be represented in the board.
During the hearing, MCCCI, Cama and Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited (one of the major customers for Escom) also rejected the 58 percent proposed tariff adjustment, arguing it is unjustifiable and likely to kill businesses if implemented.
On its part, MCCCI made a counter-offer to Escom of 25 percent tariff adjustment, fearing that if the 58 percent is implemented, businesses can close shop and this would scare away investors.
Kaferapanjira, just like Cama executive director John Kapito, attacked Escom management for its appetite for luxury vehicles, arguing it would be unfair to push to consumers the K1.4 billion (US$3 341 288) bill Escom used to purchase vehicles for its managers.
But in an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, Tembo said the purchase of the vehicles of Escom managers was one of the decisions made before his board was appointed.
On the issue of politicians on the Escom Board, Tembo said he was not competent to comment on that.
He defended the proposed 58 percent electricity tariff adjustment, arguing Escom’s aim is to improve service delivery and increase capacity.
In their presentation earlier during the public hearing meeting, Tembo and Kandulu outlined Escom’s investment plan worth billions of kwacha to improve efficiency, among other issues.
They argued that to achieve all that, Escom needs the proposed 58 percent tariff adjustment.