14 November 2016 Last updated at: 12:58 PM

Small businesses hit hard by blackouts

At a time blackouts are blamed for affecting businesses in the country, members of small and medium business enterprises have added their cry on the issue.

Speaking in random interviews on Sunday, members of small and medium business enterprises in Mzuzu said they have been greatly affected by the frequent power cuts.

Blackouts are order of the day.

Blackouts are order of the day.

In various townships in Mzuzu on Sunday, welders, hair salon operators, maize millers and barber men were seen lazing while waiting for electricity which by then had gone for close to 12 hours.

 

“The situation is a setback to my business. Because this will mean that I will have problems in paying rent and managing some bills,” said one of barber men in Chibavi Township.

A cosmetician in Mchengautuba Township, Grace Pofera, said the frequent blackouts are slowly ruining her business.

She said her business is entirely dependent on electricity thus the power cuts are becoming a threat.

 

“If my business declines, that will be the end of me. My family depends on the same saloon and once I fail to manage it and it flops, that will be to my disadvantage,” she said.

Elsewhere in the same city, our team found women spending their nights at a maize mill, waiting for electricity.

 

At Mwenga maize mill, women told Malawi24 that they had to spend their nights at the maize mill because electricity is becoming unreliable.

“We have been here since afternoon and we will be around until electricity come because even if we go home, we have nothing to eat. So it is better we mill our maize at whatever time before we go,” said Tamara Zgambo, one of the women.

Seemingly, the frequent blackouts are affecting many people in various ways in different localities in Mzuzu.

However, authorities from the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) say the blackouts may persist until the coming months due to some technical faults.

In a statement, the electricity body said the low water levels in Shire River have greatly affected power generation capacity thus the frequent blackouts.

Nevertheless, former minister of energy Green Malunga bemoaned the current situation saying that it is impacting negatively on the country’s economy.

“Electricity is very vital to the economic growth of our country. Without electricity, we can’t move forward. Countries which have developed have a background of sound electricity,” he said.

Malunga then urged government to step up efforts that will insure the country has reliable electricity.



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