Malawi Pres Banda inaugurates 81km Chikhwawa-Ngabu road, hails EU

President Dr. Joyce Banda has reiterated that without a good road network, the Malawi economy would not function properly as roads are the most important mode of transport for Malawi as they carry over 90 percent of goods and passengers.

The President made the observation when she officially opened the 46km Chikhwawa–Ngabu section of the 81.74km Chikhwawa-Nchalo-Bangula road at Misewu Folo in Chikhwawa on Wednesday.

“Today’s function marks yet another great day in the realization of the commitment of my government to ensure the continued development and achievement of the Goals and objectives of the Malawi Economic Recovery Plan. Infrastructure Development is among the five priority areas of the economic recovery plan, particularly investment in roads, rail and airports,” said President Banda.

She said the Chikhwawa–Nchalo – Bangula road forms an important link between the Shire Valley and the rest of the country.

President Banda unveils the plaque on the road

President Banda unveils the plaque on the road

“More importantly, this road link is part of the M1 road that starts from Nsanje through Chikhwawa to Blantyre through Lilongwe to Mzuzu up to Karonga and linking the country and Tanzania to the north; and Mozambique to the south,” said the Head of State, adding that furthermore, the road forms part of the focal point of projects that are part and parcel of the Shire–Zambezi development corridor.“The completion of this section of the road has contributed to the improvement of the condition of the M1 road, which cuts across the country and links Malawi with the sea port of Beira. For a landlocked country such as Malawi, international connections are particularly important hence the rehabilitation of this road has contributed to new opportunities for international trade; enhanced the development of the economy in the project area such as the Nyanja World inland port, which will benefit the country through reduced transportation costs and reduced lead times for the delivery of goods and services to Malawi and the SADC region,” Banda said.

She said her government attaches great importance to issues of reduction of backlog road maintenance and rehabilitation and that it is the policy of her government to ensure that paved road assets and all the road network is maintained and rehabilitated to preserve their value.

“I would like to reiterate that my government will put road maintenance and rehabilitation first before embarking on new projects. I would like therefore to re-assure the Development Partners that my government will do its best with their support to adhere to these policies,” said the President.

She thanked the European Union (EU) “for providing the necessary financing to the tune of 17 million Euros for the civil works and supervision services of the road; the design and supervising engineers Grontmij/CarlBro for the engineering services; the contractor, Mota-Engil for the road works; and the Roads Authority Chairman, board members, management and staff “for providing overall management and supervision of the project on behalf of the government”.

Banda appealed to members of the public to ensure that the road is well taken care off at all times, saying it is sad that the very same people who are supposed to benefit from use of the road are the ones in the forefront vandalising the road furniture which include among others road signs, guard rails, handrails and marker posts that are installed for a specific purpose, of improving road safety.

EU Resident Representative, Alexander Baum pledged the union’s continued assistance to the Malawi Government in its quest to improve the transport infrastructure.

Transport Minister and Legislator for Chikhwawa Mkombezi, Muhammad Sidik Mia, hailed the President for her visionary leadership, saying the people of the Lower Shire shall fully support her and the governing People’s Party (PP) to ensure a landslide victory in 2014.

Earlier President Banda visited flood victims in Nsanje District and donated assorted food and other items.

Sidik Mia addresses the gathering

Sidik Mia addresses the gathering

JB speaks at the function

JB speaks at the function

JB and Vice President Khumbo Kachali share notes

JB and Vice President Khumbo Kachali share notes

Part of the crowd that attended the function at Misewu Folo

Part of the crowd that attended the function at Misewu Folo

EU Ambassador Baum speaks at the function

EU Ambassador Baum speaks at the function

JB cuts the ribbon to symbolize the opening of the road

JB cuts the ribbon to symbolize the opening of the road

 

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