There was drama in Parliament yesterday just before the House adjourned sine die (adjourned with no appointed date for continuation of business) when a power failure disrupted debate for about 30 minutes.
The blackout happened as Malawi Congress Party spokesperson on Finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi was responding to a loan authorisation bill.
The blackout occurred at 10.33am and efforts to get the generator running were not successful.
This prompted First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje to suspend deliberations, describing the electricity problem as a serious anomaly that would take long to be rectified.
Sadly, a Parliament staff member had to receive emergency medical treatment after he was stuck in the lift for about 15 minutes when the blackout occurred.
Speaking when he adjourned the House, Speaker Richard Msowoya said persistent power blackouts were a result of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) power surges which were triggering the switch on the standby generator to go off.
“The more the power surges, the less efficient the generator switch is becoming. But Escom has assured us that they will work on the problem. I wish to extend my apologies for disturbing the House proceedings,” Msowoya said.
Meanwhile, the House has authorised Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe to borrow K7.5 billion from the African Development Bank for the Jobs for Youth Project which will create employment for 17 000 youths.
The minister said about $1.68 million (about K1.2 billion) would be a grant.
The project aims to economically empower the youth to become employable and enable them find decent work.
The project, which will be implemented for four years from March 2017 by the Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development, would supply the labour market with youths who have the capacity to engage in meaningful economic development, according to Gondwe.
“The youth lack entrepreneurship skills, access to markets and information, access to finance as well as weaknesses in policies which leads to low levels of employment of youth,” he said.
While supporting the Bill, Kusamba Dzonzi said the government would do well to borrow from the economic concepts of the Malawi Young Pioneers because the components of the project were similar in nature.
People’s Party spokesperson on Finance Agnes Nyalonje expressed concern over the meagre details of the Bill such as where it would be implemented and under which programme in the Ministry of Labour the project would fall.