There are fears that the phased construction of the Mwanza-Neno and the Ntcheu-Tsangano-NenoMwanza roads, could result in duplication of expenditure.
Neno-based politician and social accountability activist Leonard Phinda said since the new 140-km Ntcheu-TsanganoNeno-Mwanza Road project, launched earlier this year by President Peter Mutharika, will also cover the 37 kilometres of the Mwanza–Neno Road, there is high likelihood of creating room for duplicating expenditure on the roads.
Phinda said priority should have been given to the 25-km hilly stretch from Khwinda turn-off on the LilongweBlantyre M1 Road to the district headquarters.
“This road provides an easy gateway to Blantyre and Lilongwe. But sadly, it’s in a very bad shape, yet another road has two projects to benefit from,” he said.
While the Mwanza–Neno Road is being upgraded from gravel to low volume access road between Zaka and Kambalame, the same road is due for upgrading to bitumen class 1 under the Ntcheu-TsanganoNeno-Mwanza Road project.
So far, 12 kilometres of the 46 kilometres Mwanza-Neno Road has been upgraded from an earth road to a low volume sealed road and the Tsangano-NenoMwanza Road got underway early this year with a 20-km stretch being constructed by the Engineers Battalion of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to the tune of K9 billion.
Roads Authority ( R A ) spokesperson Portia Kajanga could neither confirm nor deny that current upgrading works on the Zaka-Kambalame Road and the subsequent work under the Ntcheu-Tsangano-NenoMwanza project will overlap, resulting in duplication of resources.
“It’s premature to say ongoing efforts on the two roads will result in wastage of resources or duplication. After all, the quality and durability of the road infrastructure under the two projects is different one is low volume sealed road while the other is upgrading from low volume sealed road to bitumen class 1 road,” she said.
According to Kajanga, decisions on which roads to prioritise are based on thorough research, mostly looking at the road’s socio-economic impact.