Vice President Saulos Chilima has expressed disappointment with the quality of workmanship on the country’s roads, saying they are a drain to the nation as the government is compelled to carry out maintenance every now and then.
Chilima, in his capacity as the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, is this week touring public project sites to appreciate the state of implementation and progress made against planned implementation.
During the tours, Chilima is expected to hold discussions with implementing entities to understand the challenges being encountered.
And speaking when he visited Msulira-Nkhotakota Road along the Nkhotakota Game Reserve in Nkhotakota, Chilima said contractors need to construct roads that would last long so that the government could save money on routine maintenance works.
“I don’t any sense in constructing a road that will last for a year because the government starts spending on its maintenance. Why can’t you construct thick and durable roads that will take 15 years before we start thinking about maintenance?” he asked.
The seemingly dissatisfied Chilima wanted to appreciate progress of the maintenance works on the 33 kilometre road that spans from Nkhotakota to Kasungu through the Nkhotakota Game Reserve.
He said time had come for the country to critically re-look at its road network to ensure it conforms to the basic standards.
The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Patrick Zimpita, said Nkhotakota-Msulira Road maintenance works delayed for a year because the government did not release the funding to Shire Construction Company, which was awarded the contract.
Zimpita disclosed that out of the K4.3 billion, the Treasury only released K800 million, making it difficult for the contract to start work.
“But the government has now committed to releasing the remaining funding so that work should start in earnest,” he said.