Legislators have told Finance and Economic Development Goodall Gondwe to bring back the issue of Lake Malawi water project to parliament for further scrutiny.
Chairperson of parliamentary committee on Agriculture, Water Development and Irrigation Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the size of the project and the tax payer money involved needed further scrutiny.
“Lilongwe needs water but the government is cutting corners. Why the speed? Why the huge amount of money? They say the project is under EPC-engineering, procuring and construction, we are not convinced the reasons why the decided on this because the contractor can decide to raise the cost of the project beyond the reach of the government,” said Chidanti Malunga.
Lilongwe Water Board, who are owners of the multi-million project said the contractor and the government are yet to agree on the cost, therefore this should not raise any alarm.
CEO for Lilongwe Water Board Alfonso Chikuni said: “I don’t know where people are getting the figure of US$500 million from. The government and the contractor are yet to agree on the cost.”
Khato Civils have been engaged to do the project which entails pumping water from Lake Malawi in Salima to Lilongwe.
Chikuni said Khato Civils is currently working on designs for the project whilst the government is engaging an independent consultant to do environmental impact assessment while communities in the corridors of the project are being sensitized.
He said there would be standby power generators and solar power in the corridors of the project from Salima to Lilongwe to ensure 24/7 availability of power for the pumping of the water exercise.
Lilongwe has a population of approximately 1.1 million residences out of which 800000 are connected to water and Chikuni said the project will connect 300000 new connections upon completion.