Salima-Lilongwe Water Project takes shape as Khato mobilises State-of-the-Art plant and machinery

President Lazarus Chakwera is demonstrating a commitment to ensuring the Salima Lilongwe Water Project becomes a reality with revelations that the project’s contractor, Khato Civils, has secured $351 million (approximately K551 billion) to launch the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project, and has already assembled all the necessary plant and equipment for its execution.

Khato CivilsĀ  Executive Chairman Simbi Phiri

According to a project update on Khato Civils’ Facebook page, the company has already acquired a high-tech concrete batching plant and carbon steel pipes for the 120-kilometre pipeline project, with the production of the pipes currently underway. The update states that “At this stage, the entire plant for the project has been mobilised, including trucks, trailers and cranes, and are ready for shipment to Malawi.”

Khato Civils spokesperson Daniel Mababa confirmed that mobilisation is at an advanced stage and that there is personnel on the ground, though he could not say when the construction of the water supply system will commence.

Ministry of Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Elias Chimulambe stated that the contractor is within schedule, and has set up a camp and cleared the site for the treatment plant. He said the contractor has secured most of the materials and is waiting for people to harvest their crops before starting the physical works.

Regarding the project’s funding, Chimulambe mentioned that the ministry is satisfied with the 30 percent provided by the government to initiate the project, and that NBS Bank plc will arrange the remaining funds as the lead arranger for the project financing.

President Lazarus Chakwera signed Bill No. 6 of 2024, authorizing NBS Bank Plc and National Bank of Malawi Plc to finance the project.

The signing followed approval of the Bill by Parliament in April 2023, allowing the government to borrow K105 billion from local banks to fund the water project awarded to the Khato Civils/South Zambezi joint venture.

Although the financing arrangement faced protests, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the two banks could proceed with lending the money, lifting an order by the Forum for National Development that aimed to halt the process.

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