Minister of Transport and Public Works Mohammed Sidik Mia visited the Njakwa-Livingstonia Road in Rumphi construction site and has assured the communities that the administration of President Lazarus Chakwera will ensure the long-neglected road should be completed within a year with October 2021 as a deadline after decades of lies and broken promises by past regimes.
The Njakwa-Mhuju-Livingstonia Road cuts through the most fertile lands and opens up a big advantage for investors in tourism and mining sectors, among others.
Mo Mia told reporters that contractor Mota-Engil will complete the road by October 2021.
He said: “I am happy to see that the contractor, Mota-Engil, is still on site despite delays in funding. We have started clearing off arrears owed to most of the contractors.”
The minister said government will make finances available to enable the contractor finishes the road within 12 months.
Construction of the 80km road will open up the CCAP’s historic mission station at Khondowe Plateau, a stunning tourist attraction which is home to Livingstonia University, Gordon Memorial Hospital and legendary Scottish missionary Robert Laws’ iconic stone house.
The $80 million construction project is under f a public-private partnership which will see Mota-Engil pay the full costs to be recouped over an agreed period of time.
The road splits the Henga Valley—an agricultural hinterland for tobacco, maize and coffee—on the way to Livingstonia and descends the treacherously mountainous terrain through Golodi Road, a narrow winding road built in 1906 by the early missionaries.
It also leads to Kaziwiziwi Coal Mine on Phoka Hills.
On the stretch between Bolero and Hewe Turn-off, Mia said government will mobilise resources to enable Mota-Engil finalise the stretch as the road benefits communities, investors and businesses along the mineral rich escarpment.
The minister said Mota Engil was awarded only 20 kilometres of the 241-kilometre road that passes through Nyika National Park to Chitipa. However, he said the new administration would like to see the whole stretch done within the coming few years
Mia visited construction sites and ports in the North.
The minister asked people of Chitipa to be patient as the Tonse Alliance administration looks for funds to construct the road connecting the boma to Nthalire through Nyika and Rumphi.
“ Malawi needa a number of roads. The whole country is in need of good roads. We understand the situation, but yoy know that we cannot do all the roads at once,” he said.
He assured that the Tonse government will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to fulfill its promises to Malawi.
On Monday when he toured some roads projects in Mzimba, Mia disclosed that government owes contractors in the roads sector MK79 billion in arrears, a development that delayed most projects.
According to Mia, some of the projects that stopped due to funding hiccups are Jenda- Edingeni Road and M22 Mzimba-Mzarangwe Road.
“Some companies abandoned the projects due to funding, but we have now started financing some of the projects,” Mia said.
The government has the National Transport Master Plan, estimated to cost $9.5 billion (about K7 trillion) up to 2037, with investments for rail subsector worth $2.3 billion (about K1.7 trillion) and inland water subsector worth $191 000 (about K140 billion).
The plan envisages solving transportation infrastructure challenges which the private sector continue to cite as among drivers of high cost of doing business.
Some of the projects include the rehabilitation of Chileka International Airport runway, safeguarding of aerodromes across the country, rehabilitation of Nkhata Bay–Dwangwa Road, dualisation of selected roads in Blantyre, construction of inland weighbridges at Bwengu in Mzimba, Dwangwa in Nkhotakota and Dedza and construction of Likoma Jetty.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :