Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elite are popping champagne at Kamuzu Palace following President Peter Mutharika’s successful securing of a multibillion Kwacha aid package from China which covers, among others, the construction of the district hospital and cancer centre worth over $23 million at Kameza in Blantyre.
Mutharika said this during a news conference in Lilongwe Wednesday where he outlined what he called the outcome of the discussions that were held during his recent trip to China with officials from the Ministry of Commerce, EXIM Bank of China and China Gezhouba Group Company Limited.
“The Chinese Government has provided grants to the Malawi Government as follows: US$25 million (130 million RMB)whose Financing Agreement was signed in January 2015; US$25 million (150 million RMB)whose Financing Agreementis being prepared for signing; and US$8 million (50 RMB million) interest-free loan, financing Agreement which was signed in January 2015,” explained Mutharika.
The news conference was held barely a day after a highly-level meeting organized Cabinet Ministers to provide a face-to-face platform to address issues raised by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The CSOs requested government to clarify on Farm Input Subsidy Programme, give a status report on the country’s economy, water and electricity woes.
Among the major projects which the Chinese government has pledged to undertake include a crucial but exciting 300 megawatt Kammwamba Coal Fired plant which will increase the power generating capacity of Malawi to meet the ever increasing demand according to Mutharika.
“The project cost is estimated at US$667, 232, 814,” said Mutharika, revealing that other projects are subjected to further discussions and review.
The power project, which will increase power generation capacity to meet the ever increasing demand, is exciting news to both Malawians and investors who endure hours of power black outs every day.
Another project on the cards is the dual carriage road from Kanengo industrial area to Mchinji round about in Lilongwe which drastically reduce congestion on the road thereby cutting back on delays motorists experience on the road as they come from Kamuzu International airport and the northern region.
Mutharika also says he has secured Chinese grants for the construction of the Blantyre District Hospital which was unceremoniously abandoned by late Muammar Gadaffi of Libya and Cancer Centre in Blantyre at Kameza costing US$23 million.
The People’s Republic of China will also provide Lilongwe with grants for procurement vehicles for the country’s security agency, Malawi Police Service costing $2 million.
The Malawi leader said he secured the Chinese development projects when he held talks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his recent visit to China.
Another grant is the construction of a Technical Teacher Training College costing US$5 million and the construction of Community Technical Colleges costingUS$6 million.
The Chinese windfall also covers the promotion of value addition activities for the Ministry of Industry and Trade amounting to US$5 million,
In the Chinese aid buffet, there is a grant for the procurement of equipment and exchange programs for lecturers at the Malawi University of Science and TechnologyUS$2 million.
It also covers the procurement of office equipment and furniture for the Ministry of Industry and Trade amounting to US$1 million.
The is also support for technical services for the Bingu National Stadium constructed with the support of the Chinese Government amounting to US$1 million and construction of a new Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building amounting to US$3 million.
China is a crucial partner to Malawi Government since 2008, they have been supporting Malawi in a number of areas such as irrigation and infrastructure development and it is also a free trade area for over 400 products.
Malawi established diplomatic relations with Beijing on December 28, 2007 after severing ties with Taiwan with which it had relationship for 41 years.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has granted Malawi government K22.6 billion for rehabilitation and expansion 21 Community Day Secondary Schools to increase access to education.
The funds will also be injected towards teachers’ training. –(Additional Reporting by Yamikani Simutowe, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :