President Lazarus Chakwera has said the colour dream of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika—the Nsanje Inland Port—which cost the country $20 million, is not a priority for government right now.
Chakwera made the stand in Parliament on Wednesday when he was responding to members of parliament questions. The President was asked about his government’s plans on the project.
“Nsanje Port is not a priority,” Chakwera said in his upfront response.
He said government plans to rehabilitate the Marka to Mozambique railway line so that it becomes functional again.
The President said talks are underway with Mozambique on the project. The Malawi leader had visited the neighbouring country recently on a State visit.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Nsanje Central Member of Parliament Francis Kasaila said the port development project is part of government policy because it is included in the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MDGS).
Sadc, through the African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2011 pumped in US$ 3.5 million (K2.5 billion) into the comprehensive feasibility study on the Shire-Zambezi Waterway project which was initially projected to cut Malawi’s transportation of goods costs to and from the Indian Ocean ports by 40 percent.
The project had also roped in Zambia and Zimbabwe to make it more regional based. The countries adopted the study that gave a green light to the navigability of the two rivers.
Although in 2014 former president Mutharika after attending the 34th Sadc Summit at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe said Sadc had endorsed the project, in April 2016 Mozambique president Felipe Nyusi questioned the viability of the project, saying it was just an ambition by Zambia and Malawi to cut transportation costs, urging the two countries to explore other means.