Public Works and Transport Minister JappieMhango has lashed out at the contractor maintaining the Karonga-Chitipa road for poor workmanship.
The government has set aside K1 billion for the maintenance of the road, a donation from the Republic of China which constructed the road just four years ago.
“I am not too happy with the maintenance works; I was expecting much better job. More needs to be done so that the road reaches the level the government wants,” he said.
Mhango said this after inspecting the maintenance works on Monday after reports that the contractor was doing shoddy work, raising suspicions of corruption.
He expressed worry that the contractor was only focusing on potholes leaving out cracks which are a threat to durability of the road.
“I was expecting much better work than what I have seen. Nevertheless I think efforts were made to eliminate the situation of potholes, but more work must be done on this road,” Mhango pointed out.
A team of experts also inspected the road to find out why it has gone severely bad just four years after its construction and the assessment report is yet to be released.
Roads Authority chief executive officer Emmanuel Matope said the maintenance works underway would not be affected by the experts assessment report when it comes out.
He said there was need to maintain the road because it is an important economic infrastructure in the region.
Chinese company that constructed the road said the maintenance work was happening to protect its image and promote relationship between Malawi and China.
China Road and Bridge Corporation, Chief Representative, Rui Wang said the company had passed defection period which means it is was out of the contract.
“As you may be aware these sections were done in 2004 and some in 2009, though the handover ceremony was done in 2012. Every contractor when he passes the defection period then he is out of the contract.
“But for us we are doing this because this road was a grant from the People’s Republic of China and we want this gift from China to be good,” he said
Wang said the maintenance work is expected to cost the company about US$1 million (Approximately K730 million)
The 101 km Karonga-Chitipa road project was funded by the People’s Republic of China to a grant of US$70 million (about K10 billion) and was initiated by late President Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004.
The road started getting damaged barely a month after former president Joyce Banda officially launched it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :