The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) and the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) on Monday hailed the improvement in power supply in recent times saying the situation makes the manufacturing sector players plan production at an optimal level to produce and meet the demand of their goods.
The bodies have also predicted that if sustained, such a situation could lead to the Malawi economy registering successive high economic growth rates.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Cama executive director John Kapito noted that unlike in the past when the country was gripped by incessant power outages, the situation is not the same at the moment.
He said the improved power supply is not only aiding big companies in the manufacturing sector to cut production costs but also small-scale traders whom he said are able to plan their respective businesses.
Said Kapito: “It’s not only the manufacturing sector which is benefiting from this uninterrupted power supply but small scale traders and consumers as well. People are able to plan and this is good our economic growth.”
He said persistence in reliable power availability could also see consumers benefiting in the long run as they will have access to a wider range of goods and services since production of those good would be seamless.
He also said the situation at the moment as regards to power availability is also a sign that the country could increase employment levels as producing companies expand their capacity utilization.
Kapito also said improvement in power would also help attract foreign investors to invest in various sector of the economy as previously power outages have been cited as one key factors that has been impeding Malawi’s ability to lure increased foreign direct investment inflow.
“The challenge, however, is to make this electricity available to many people and to make sure that the industry and all consumers do not get this power at punitive cost,” he said.
On the other hand, Ecama executive director Nelson Mkandawire noted that steady Power Supply is very important for the manufacturing sector or indeed the industry as a whole.
Mkandawire said with uninterrupted power supply, businesses are able to sell more at a steady rate translating into economies of scale entailing that with high profits realised, manufacturers will be able to contribute to reduction in unemployment by employing more people.
“Running machines was not the best for industries because diesel has proved to be expensive than electricity. Should power supply remain steady, we are likely going to seem a boom in the manufacturing industry,” he said.
Mkandawire, however, called upon government and Escom to work hand in hand to add more generators at Nkula and Kapichira Hydro power stations adding that ‘as a country we could also explore wind generated power as other nations have done.’
Escom Board chairperson Morgan Tembo said during the commissioning of Kapichira phase II hydro electric power station in Chikhwawa that the plant will help minimise load shedding in the country.
In 2013, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) cited power outage as one top most snag to trade in Malawi.