Blantyre District Council says it will from April this year start constructing a shopping mall at Chileka Airport as one way of boosting its revenue collection.
District Commissioner for Blantyre, Bennet Nkasala said although councils were not allowed to directly run any commercial activities, the Blantyre Council would from next week start the process of identifying private entrepreneurs to run the mall under Public –Private – Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“The shopping mall is a good business for the council and we expect to boost our revenue generation. However, we are yet to decide how best that could be done and I am hopeful that in our next management meeting, we shall agree on how best we could implement the project,” Nkasala said.
Nkasala disclosed that the decision to come up with a shopping mall was based on huge number of visitors who fly in and out of the country through the airport and also the growing business opportunities around Chileka area.
Apart from the shopping mall, the council is also planning to advertise and lease out its old offices in Blantyre city centre and some structures at Ngumbe that are in a dilapidated state and require some maintenance.
“Our vision is to improve our revenue generation and currently we have some structures that the council is failing to rehabilitate, therefore, we would like the private sector, those willing to rehabilitate to come in and we agree on a period they should operate in those buildings,” Nkasala said.
Vice Chairperson of Blantyre District Council, Enock Mukhori concurred with Nkasala that once the shopping mall was constructed, the council would improve on payment of staff salaries as well as settling of utility bills, which he cited as a big challenge the council was currently grappling with.
According to Mukhori, the shopping mall project is expected to cost the council about K80 million.