Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango has touted a revolutionary infrastructure development with a National Transport Master Plan in roads, ships and airports .
Mhango said apart from the roads infrastructure projects President Peter Mutharika’s government has recently embarked on, his ministry has procured a consultant to undertake a full feasibility and design study for the construction of purpose built jetty on Likoma Island.
“The people of Likoma have for decades suffered untold misery when embarking and disembarking from ships that they solely rely on for transport to the mainland,” Mhango told Parliament.
“My ministry is highly committed to end the suffering by constructing modern ship landing facilities at Likoma,” he added.
Water transport is a lifeline to the mainland where Likoma and Chizumulu islanders get food and other basic needs.
However, ships dock more than 100 metres off-shore as both islands have no jetty.
The islanders said they pay extra costs to private boats that take them and goods to vessels.
Mhango said facilities at Likoma jetty will also boost tourism on the Island, saying government has allocated resources for the project.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to report that the consultant has successfully completed his work and procurement of a contractor to build the facility is underway,” Mhango said.
Mota-Engil, the concessionaire running the country’s ports, had the same plan of constructing a permanent jetty at Likoma but were waiting for either the district council or the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to initiate the idea and start the project.
Mhango also informed the House that work to rehabilitate the Nkhata Bay jetty which sunk in December, 2016 due to heavy winds is “almost complete.”
He said: “ The work is being done in collaboration between my ministry and the concession with Malawi Lake Ports Company Limited.”
The Nkhata Bay jettey pontoon—the bridge that links arriving and departing vessels—sunk due to heavy Mwera winds. The jetty was constructed in 1957 and the first pontoon was replaced after 28 years.
The minister assure that his ministry will thrive to make improvements in all modes of transport in order to bring in efficiencies that will translate into reduced transport costs.
“This is what Malawians want. We will vigorously engage possible investors and pursue alternative resources of funding to ensure that the National Transport Master Plan is fully implemented,” he said.
He added: “All these projects, Mr Speaker, Sir, have been initiated and master minded by His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi who is spending sleepless nights devising ways and means to transform this country. By the time he leaves office in 2024, Malawi will be a different story to tell. This is what we call transformative leadership.”
He commended Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe for making resources available for the development projects.
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.
The government has been urged to disclose the source of funding to “inspire confidence” in the people that the planned projects are doable and deliverable within the stipulated time frames.
But Mhango said dtreasury till inject money in the projects to be completed.
The parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee fears the projects would be a public debt bargain.
According to the 2017/18 draft financial statement, as at December 2016, total public debt amounted to K2 trillion, accounting for 53.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of which $1.7896 was foreign debt and k806.2 billion, or 20.7 percent of GDP, was domestic debt.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :