Cama executive director John Kapito was reacting to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) announcement in December last year that it had extended its rehabilitation at Nkula B hydro power plant from the initial deadline of December 31 2011 to June this year.
This means Malawi has to brace for more power outages following a reduction in EscomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s generation capacity.
Nkula B senior power station manager Steven Kaira is on record to have blamed the contractor, Hydel Engineering and Construction Limited (HECL), as having failed to meet the deadline because of logistical challenges that include delivery of materials and a lack of technical know-how.
Kapito said Escom has been rehabilitating the plants for 15 years and that the money spent so far was enough to develop a new generation plant to supply electricity to the nation.
Said Kapito: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The cost should have brought in new machinery to revamp the plants. I believe the rehabilitation works are just one way of symphoning money from the country. >From the work done so far, it seems the machinery is too old for rehabilitation and anyone claiming to know how to maintain that is just looking for a way to milk the country.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said the continuous shift of deadlines is proof of lack of progress.
Kapito said that unless the stalled Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-M) grant materialises, no progress will be made.
Escom spokesperson Kitty Chingota asked for a questionnaire when contacted on Monday last week. However, by Monday this week she had not yet responded.
Since the rehabilitation works started in August 2011, the contractor has completed upgrading the excitation system for generator one and currently work on generator two and three is still in progress.
A study conducted about three years ago by MCA-M found that the country loses about $215.6 million (about K36 billion) a year due to power outages.