Malawi President Mrs. Joyce Banda on Sunday opened the 25 Km Ekwendeni – Ezondweni road on Sunday at Emuvuyeni in Mzimba district and warned against acts of vandalism, saying the malpractice is costing government a lot of money.
The upgraded road is the first phase of the Ekwendeni – Ezondweni – Kafukule – Eswazini- Mzimba road.
President Banda said it is another demonstration of her government’s commitment to ensure the continued development of the Malawi’s infrastructure is achieved.
She has since called on Chiefs, lawmakers and other leaders to unite in fighting vandalism but did not disclose the amount that is lost through the malpractice.
“I will ensure that all phases of the road are completed. No stoppages under my leadership. The development of the road network in Mzimba, the northern region and the whole country is part and parcel of the revised Economic Recovery Plan where my government has targeted five sectors,” Banda said during the official opening of the road that took place at Emvuyeni Primary School in the area of Senior Chief Ntwalo in Mzimba district.
“Roads and bridges are the most important mode of transport for Malawi as they carry over 90 percent of goods and passengers hence without a good road network, the Malawi economy would suffer greatly”
The road project – initiated during the late Bingu wa Mutharika regime – that was initially budgeted at 1.8 billion Kwacha has cost the taxpayer over 4 billion Kwacha after its completion. It has been upgraded to Bitumen standard Class II and included the construction of three bridges.
Asked whether President Banda takes credit on the construction of the road as it was constructed during Mutharika regime, State House Press Officer Brian Banda said: “The issue of taking credit is neither here nor there; President Joyce Banda is opening the road as it is a government Project. This is a project that was purely financed by the government of Malawi. She is the Head of State and government.
President Banda also said the procurement process for the Jenda – Edingeni road is progress, saying she is negotiating with donors from Abu Dhabi and others to help in the upgrading of roads in the northern region such as Rumphi – Nyika – Chitipa road and the Mzuzu – Nkhata
Managing Director of Fargo limited, the contractor, Akif Jakhula said some of the challenges that affected the timely completion of the project are shortage of fuel and other construction material, foreign exchanges and lack of skilled Plant Operators.
“Since November 2009, there has been an intermittent supply of diesel and this negatively affected progress,” Jakhula said.
During the function Jakhura said his company will give President Banda Safe Motherhood Program a sum of 10 million Kwacha.
President Banda has since directed that the money should be used to build a maternity waiting shelter at Esuzweni Health Centre in the district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :