Malawi’s Transport Minister Mohammed Sidik Mia has assured islanders of Likoma and other water transport users that the MV ILALA is normal and fully functional.
Mia also said transport challenges on Lake Malawi will soon be a thing of the past as government has engaged a new company to fully work on the country’s water vessels and address transport challenges islanders are facing.
The minister’s assurance follows media reports that the vessel which has been plying on Lake Malawi for over 60 years was reportedly in near disaster before docking at Nkhatabay Port on Tuesday.
“As you recall about 6 months ago, the Ilala went through full rehabilitation and the engines were brand new, the owners [suppliers] and engineers had come in and rescued.
“Unfortunately it developed similar problems whereby it took some time for it to return on dock, but I must assure the public the Ilala is back on the waters, with one engine and it is working normal,” said Mia.
He said as a lasting solution to the problem, his ministry has brought in a new company and it seems things are turning for the better in developing water transport.
Mia further said the new company is undertaking rehabilitation work on vessels such as Mtendere as well as building a new ship at Monkey Bay.
“Quite a number of things have happened, currently there is an on-going project where a brand new ship is coming in, and it will be ready by early next year,” disclosed Mia.
The government has been looking at many aspects of transport, from rail transport, road transport, air transport including water transport, according to Mia.