The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources has asked the country`s state power supplier ESCOM to prioritise local companies when procuring electricity poles.
The Committee`s Chairperson Welani Chilenga said this at Parliament Building in Lilongwe during a meeting with officials from ESCOM.
In an interview, Chilenga said local companies in the sector are striving for survival and others have closed down because ESCOM has been opting for foreign companies to supply the poles.
“As much as we are concerned as a Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources to encourage MAREP Projects, ESCOM and any other projects that use electricity poles to procure within the country.
“In that way we are going to support the government agenda of making sure that our youth find employment in this country because by buying from outside it means we are exporting our jobs,” said Chilenga.
The Committee has also trashed reports that buying local companies will fuel depletion of the country`s forests.
“No no no! Our forests can be depleted, these poles come from trees that are not indegenous but planted ones which are planted for a purpose, usually is from blue gum trees which are planted for either use of poles for firewood and making planks,” said Chilenga.
Reacting to the call, Director of Energy in the Ministry of Energy Cassius Chiwambo said ESCOM go for foreign companies to supply the poles because they consider quality and he has since assured the Committee that ESCOM will consider prioritizing local companies without compromising quality.
“We are going to maintain those people who are Malawians, but we are not on the quality because we cannot be sourcing the same materials just because they are failing, they are not meeting the quality aspects,” said Chiwambo.
Recently, Raiply Malawi expressed concern over ESCOM`s refusal to procure its poles despite the company purchasing electricity from the power supplier.