People of Likoma wants Ilala fery to return on Lake Malawi – MP Olivia Thundu

Member of Parliament for Likoma sland Olivia Thundu wanted to know when the Ilala ship will sail again on the waters of Lake Malawi.

She asked the minister of transport and public works in parliament Thursday, adding that people of Likoma Island are facing transport problems due to the absence of the ship.

“I just see questions about cars and roads being addressed to the minister responsible for transport, but I don’t see questions of when the Ilala will start sailing again.

“People of Likoma and Chizumulu are suffering when it comes to transportation because they mostly depend on water transport.” Thundu said.

Illala on Lake Malawi: When will it return?
Illala on Lake Malawi: When will it return?

She said that apart from Ilala, her constituency in 2010 was promised speed boats but up to date the boats have not arrived at the island.

“In 2010 we were given hope that our transport problems would be minimized by the speed boats we were promised but unfortunately we were given false hopes because the boats have not arrived up to date,” she complained.

She added that people in her constituency would be grateful if the minister responsible for transport would do something quickly about the situation.

Minister of Transport and Public Works, Sidik Mia said government was aware of the problems that the people of Likoma and Chizumulu islands are facing.

“We are not ignoring the people of Likoma and Chizumulu but we are taking time to rehabilitate the Ilala,” Mia said.

He said that after seeing the bad state the Ilala was in, they thought it wise to rehabilitate it.

“The plan was that the ship would be rehabilitated for a short time because we thought the problem was small. After our expert’s inspection it was noticed that a lot of spares were dilapidated and they had to be exchanged for the ship to work well,” he said.

Mia said he personally went to Monkey-Bay where the ship is being rehabilitated and he has hope the ship would sail out soon as a new ship.

On the issue concerning the speed boats, the Minister said the water vessels would not help much in ending the transport problems. However the Department of Shipping and Transport has taken a further step to purchase a new ship that will be arriving soon in the country.

“I assure the people of Likoma and Chizumulu that their problem will soon come to an end because the Ilala and the new ship will start sailing on the waters of Lake Malawi soon,” Mia said.

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