House approves K20 billion for Nkhotakota road

Dwangwa Nkhotakota road

Parliament has authorised Treasury to borrow K20 billion ($20) million from the OPEC Fund for International Development to finance the rehabilitation of the Benga- Nkhotakota- Dwangwa section of the M5 road and ancillary works.

The Project will be jointly funded by the OPEC Fund, the African Development Bank (ADB) and Malawi Government under the SADC Sub Regional Transport and Trade Facilitation Project.

Among others, it seeks to enhance competitiveness and socio-economic integration between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania through Nacala and Ntwara Corridors.

The project will rehabilitate 101 kilometres linking Benga to Dwangwa including conversion of single to double lane bridges, construction of two weighbridges and rehabilitation of 50 km of district feeder roads in Nkhotakota and Salima districts.

It will also improve transport infrastructure and trade facilitation by installing Information and Communications Technology connectivity systems and building capacity for trade and customs officials.

Part of the funding will also cater for resettlement compensation for affected communities.

Expressed worry over government's excessive borrowing: Phiso

United Democratic front (UDF) Spokesperson Sadala Ibrahim agreed it is high time the Nkhotakota-Dwanga road was rehabilitated as over the years, it has become a death trap.

The legislator cited the Kaphatenga stretch which has cracks and big potholes, and lamented this has led to loss of lives which could have been avoided.

He pointed out the economic impact of the road to the country cannot be overemphasized as it hosts two sugar manufacturing companies making it one of the busiest hence needs to be durable and strong.

The stretch on the road which nomally gets damaged by rains

Francis Phiso from Blantyre North expressed concern over the excessive borrowing by the government to finance road projects which he feared will make future generations highly indebted.

He also had reservations that government seems to be focusing its energies on Lilongwe at the expense of other areas which Gwengwe acknowledged and attributed it to its status of a Capital city which he stated will not only benefit those from the city.

Nkhotakota North legislator Chimunthu Banda agreed tabling of bill could not have come at a better time than now noting the Nkhotakota boma and Dwangwa stretch are not in good condition and made an appeal to government to start from this most dilapidated part.