Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited has unveiled an ambitious plan to replace Escom House, which was damaged by fire in 2013, with a modern multi-storey office building within the next two and a half years.
Escom Chairman of the Board, Fredrick Changaya, announced the plans for the project on Friday, August 13, 2021, when he addressed members of the press on the sidelines of the inspection by commission members Parliamentarian for Transport and Infrastructure from the burnt office building in Blantyre.
He said architectural designs were at an advanced stage for the construction project, which would also include a modern parking lot and office buildings for government agencies and departments to rent at subsidized rates.
“The plan is not to bring back what has been burnt down. This is CBD Blantyre. Our plan is to ensure that we have a high-rise office building which will house all Escom employees in Blantyre.
“We specifically want to have the head office and associated services to have a one-stop office building where you come for connections, you find us here; you come for defects, you find us here; find here.” he said.
Changaya said the new board is determined to ensure that all of Escom’s financial resources are spent on providing services such as preventive maintenance and troubleshooting instead of spending millions of kwacha on rental, as is currently the case.
Escom Holding’s office moved to rented offices at Umoyo House along Victoria Avenue in Blantyre after the fire at Escom House, a development which Changaya said was unsustainable.
“We know it’s taken a long time and we don’t know why, but as a new board and new government, we are committed to ensuring that this structure is replaced.
“…if you’re talking about economic development, you have to do other things that can save the economic envelope and make us spend more not on buildings but on services,” the council chairman said.
Finding funding for the project is not expected to be a headache as the Council will explore public-private partnership approach to secure financial support for the construction works, Changaya added.
Speaking to members of the press earlier, Parliamentary Committee Chairman Uchizi Mkandawire said work on Escom House had been delayed in part because some areas of the public a few years ago had reservations about the then Escom management’s plan to demolish the building at a cost of K600 million, which was deemed to be higher.
He said the new council had changed the approach whereby the same contractor hired to demolish the structure would carry out the construction work.
“Previously, they had a two-phase construction approach: phase one to hire a contractor to do the demolition and phase two to do the construction, but now they have changed their approach.
“They’re going to be demolishing while building at the same time, so it will be a project,” Mkandawire said.
Escom is a public company responsible for the supply, transmission and distribution of electricity in the country.