Yankho Msukwa –Nyasa Times
The Blantyre City Council has said it will prioritize infrastructure development in the 2016/17 fiscal year.
Mayor for the City, Noel Chalamanda said this during a budget session for the Blantyre City Council.
According to him, the city’s population has grown tremendously within the past few years, hence the need to improve the infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Council has officially signed a financing agreement with the Roads Fund Administration (RFA) towards the installation of street lights along the 8.7 kilometre Masauko Chipembere Highway.
RFA has committed to provide K360 million while the Council will square the difference for the street lights installation project, which is expected to run for five months.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa observed that the lighting up of the highway will help in curbing vandalism and theft.
“A city that is well lit throughout the night creates a conducive and safe environment for road users. It also promotes trade which is key to the country’s socio economic development,” said Nankhumwa, who presided over the signing agreement ceremony.
Installation of street lights will cover the 8.7 kilometre highway which starts from Larji Kuji in Blantyre to Illovo Roundabout in Limbe.
RFA chief executive officer (CEO) Stewart Malata said they entered into the financing pact considering the economic value of the street which connects two of the country’s busy economic hubs of Limbe and Blantyre central business district (CBD).
“This makes a busy road throughout the day and therefore, the absence of street lights did not enhance the safety aspect of the road users,” said Malata.
Blantyre City mayor Noel Chalamanda said the lighting of the highway has come as a relief to the city’s residents as it has a number of benefits, including enhancing security,” he explained.
On rehabilitation and upgrading or roads in the City, the Council has issued deadlines for the contractors to complete their expected works within the contract periods.
Kasunda said the Council’s Engineering Department, which he said has qualified civil engineers, is monitoring construction works for contractors not to compromise standards.
“It is not about deadlines, it is about reminding them of the contract periods. Every contract has period of execution,” said Kasunda.
Government gave the Council K1.8 billion to upgrade some roads in the City.
The roads which are expected to be upgraded in Blantyre are Chilomoni Ring Road, Chimseu to Magalasi, Living Waters to Zion, Landrover Chirimba to Magalasi, Off Mugabe Highway to Mpingwe and Angelogoveya to Manje.
Parliamentarian for Blantyre Bangwe, David Dalilani Kadzinja expressed satisfaction with progress of Off Mugabe Highway-Nthandizi-Mpingwe road which is in his area.
He said the upgrading will not only bring a facelift to the constituency, but also the commetcial capital as a whole.
The roads in question will be upgraded to bitumen and also expected to enhance economic activities, especially the Off Mugabe Highway-Mpingwe stretch.
“I took trouble to inspect and appreciate progress of the contruction works. The contractor is doing a remarkable and is set to beat the deadline. I am very thankful to government and Blantyre City Council for considering Blantyre Bangwe constituents,” said Kadzinja in an interview.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :