Govt Owes Road Contractors K79 Billion in Arrears
Government says it owes contractors working on projects in the country over K79 billion in arrears which they inherited from the previous government.
Minister of transport and public works Sidik Mia disclosed this Monday when together with his deputy minister appreciated works on the Jenda Edingeni road and the Mzimba Mzalangwe road being funded by the Malawi government
Mia said the arrears are a major reason why some road projects had stalled for some time but have now been revived.
"When we took over government we found that we owe contractors over K79 billion which is a lot of money it is more than our budget but as government we have taken full responsibility that we pay what we owe and at the same time carry on with the projects that are there, stopping would be killing the whole infrastructure," said Mia.
He said government is committed to ensuring timely payments to various contractors so as to expedite work and that his ministry will be looking for donors to fund other projects in the country.
Mia said his ministry has a master plan ministry of transport and public works have laid it out that every year a kilometer to bituminized kilometers designated for clearing kilometers designated for gravel and if the master plan is not followed they risk bringing the whole infrastructure plan down.
He said government will now be tapping funds from various donors like the Kuwait fund for other projects in the country.
The minister was speaking after appreciating progress on the Jenda Edingeni road and the Mzimba Mzalangwe road which are being funded by the Malaŵi government using the fuel levy.
District commissioner for the Mmbelwa district council Emmanuel Bambe said Mzimba is one of the districts which has poor roads a thing which impacts negatively on agriculture production.
"Mzimba is one of the districts in the country with poor roads and with the coming of these roads this will improve our agriculture production as you know the district is agro-based so a good road network is needed when we need to buy farm inputs or transport our produce to markets," said Bambe.
China railway number 5 engineering group is constructing the 6 billion kwacha second phase of the Jenda Edingeni road from Chindoka up to Embangweni while ZCCC is currently doing an 11 billion kwacha 45-kilometer stretch from Mzimba up to Mtangatanga on the M1 road as part of the Mzimba Mzalangwe road