The World Bank has trashed reforms at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) saying they are not benefiting Malawians.
Speaking on Tuesday in Blantyre during a meeting convened to evaluate the impact of business reforms Malawi is undertaking, World Bank senior private sector development specialist Ephraim Chilima said the reforms and unbundling of Escom should have translated into action.
“The reforms at Escom are not bearing the desired fruits and the unbundling of Escom should have translated into action, instant improvement of power generation,” he said.
Chilima attributed the slow pace of the reforms to rigidity and mentality of some government officials and unfriendly laws.
However, Director of Private Sector Development at Ministry of Trade and Industry Esther Mwimba said some of the business reforms instituted by government are bearing fruits.
She gave an example of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) where people can pay tax just at the touch of a button wherever they can be, office or home.
Malawi is under severe pressure to effect reforms at Escom and tackle corruption seriously after threats from the US to withdraw the US$350m Millennium Challenge Account if the issues are not addressed.
The US wants the government to remove the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dominated board, tackle chronic graft at the power utility state company and introduce tariffs which should be economically viable.
There have been wide reports of corruption in the procurement of materials for the Malawi Challenge Corporation (MCC) programme.
The US has also openly said the DPP dominated boards at Escom and Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) are contributors to the inefficiencies at the two institutions.
The MCC project aims to improve the energy sector especially in the distribution of electricity.