President Lazarus Chakwera is on July 5th expected to preside over the ground breaking for the rehabilitation works of the Lilongwe-Kasungu-Jenda and Kacheche-Chiweta M01 Road, that has been awarded to 4 construction contractors.
A statement from Kelvin Sato, the public relations officer for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, says the European Investment Bank (EIB) finally gave its ‘No Objection’ nod on June 1, 2022 for the commencement of the rehabilitation project.
The rehabilitation works starts from the junction to Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) up to Kasungu Boma to be constructed by China Jiangxi International together with Jiangxi Transport Ltd while Portuguese contractor, Mota Engil’s stretch is from Kasungu Boma up to Jenda — the border between the Central and Northern Regions.
Unik Constuction Engineering (Pty) Ltd takes up from Jenda up to Mzimba Boma Turn Off while China Henan International Co. Ltd’s stretch is from Kacheche to Chiweta.
These stretches are in very bad shape especially the Kacheche to Chiweta, that most times renders impassable when trucks breakdown.
The Lilongwe to Kasungu stretch is also a nightmare for motorists — more especially at night as it is riddled with potholes and that its edges crumbled off rendering it to be narrower even for small vehicles to pass each other.
The country’s road network construction and rehabilitation has always been factored in almost each annual National Budget but fail to get off the ground.
The Roads Fund Administration (RFA) has since built two toll gates along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road — at Chingeni in Balaka and at Kalinyeke in Dedza — from whose fees collected should help to improve the road conditions in the country.
Last week, the RFA announced that three more toll gates will be constructed this year in the Central and Northern regions targeting Jenda, Mchinji and Salima.
RFA spokesperson, Masauko Ngwaluko told the media last week that funds for the construction of the three toll gates are already available and that equipment was bought last year.
He also disclosed that they are plans to construct 20 toll gates on some of the major roads in the country.
The Chingeni Toll Plaza in Balaka was the first to be opened in October last year while the Kalinyeke in Dedza was rolled out in December.
The existence of the toll gates prompted Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) to request government to consider reviewing the Road Levy that is factored on fuel prices — arguing that if removed could lead to low prices of fuel.
CAMA argued that the Road Levy was introduced some years back to assist in the construction and rehabilitation of the country’s roads and at a time when systems and mechanisms were not established within relevant institutions.
CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito had argued that “now that we have a full Road Regulatory Authority — specific for road construction and rehabilitation — it is important to transfer such a tax to this appropriate authority bearing in mind that the Road Authority has just introduced the Toll Gate Tax — whose purpose is similar to that of the Road Levy and it is unfair to punish Consumers with double taxation for the same type of service or product”.
Thus Kapito maintained that if the levies — that include Malawi Rural Electrification (MAREP), Malawi Bureau of Standards CESS — are removed, the current prices of the petroleum products at the fuel pump reduce.
Currently, pump fuel prices, effective April 10, are K1,380 for petrol raised by 20% from K1,150 per litre while diesel is at K1,470 per litre — up from K1,120 representing a 31.25% increase.
Paraffin was also adjusted upwards by 14.74% from K833.20 to K956 per litre.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :