Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango has said the various ground breaking ceremonies that President Peter Mutharika has presided over in the past months are part of a revolutionary infrastructure development with a National Transport Master Plan in roads, ships and airports, which are off the ground, saying about $9.15 billion (about K7 trillion) is needed to fulfill its transport sector “master plan” which will run from 2018 to 2038.
President Mutharika has been laying foundation stones for road projects including the 186 kilometer (km) Blantyre By-pass Road and the 16km Clock Tower to Chileka International Airport dual carriageway.
Mutharika has also told Malawians that his government will construct a tarmac road from Chileka International Airport in Blantyre to Mpatamanga up to Mwanza District in addition to the Mangochi-Makanjira Roade whose construction he touted recently.
But critics have raised questions over funding, asking President Mutharika to explain to Malawians where government will get the money for such projects in the face of non-performing economy.
Speaking at a news conference he held in Lilongwe to give an update on the status of various initiatives that government is undertaking through the ministry, Mhango said said the masterplan will help to strengthen and establish a multi-modal transport network and connectivity and strengthen regulation through the establishment of regulatory bodies.
“As government, we will only go ahead to do a ground breaking ceremony when money for that particular project is available and a contractor has been identified and procured. And in most of these projects, we do the ground breaking when the work has started already,” explained Mhango.
He said: “In the road projects, we are undertaking 12 huge projects where contractors are already on the ground while five projects are upcoming.”
Mhango cited the Zomba-Jali-Phalombe Chitakale Road, Thyolo-Thekerani- Muona-Makhanga Road, Liwonde-Mangochi Road, Lilongwe Old Airport Kasiya-Santhe Road, Mzuzu-Nkhata-Bay Road, Lumbadzi-Chezi and Njakwa-Livingstonia roads, among other projects in progress.
On the upcoming road projects, Mhango mentioned Ntcheu-Tsangano-Neno Road, upgrading of the Namatunu-Machinga Road, construction of the Blantyre Bypass Road, upgrading of the Kawere-Mkanda Road and upgrading of the Rumphi Hewe Road.
He said in the 2017/18 financial year, government has budgeted K2.1 billion to cover 4 820 kilometres of road network.
The Minister said they are committed to transform the transport sector in the country, knowing that for the economy to thrive, it will directly hinge on the quality of the country’s transport system.
He said a master plan is a long-term plan for guiding the sustainable planned development and it seeks to reduce transport costs by shifting traffic from road to rail and in-land water transport along the country’s major corridors of Dar es Salaam, Nacala, Beira and Mtwara.
“There will also be upgrading of 1,400 kilometres of rural roads targeting agriculture and tourism sectors, strengthening and establishing a multi-modal transport network and connectivity plus strengthening regulation through establishment of regulatory bodies,” added.
The Master Plan, the first of its kind, will cost a total of $9.15 billion over the 20 year period and the minister said government intends to seek support from its development partners and private sector financiers for its implementation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :