President Lazarus Chakwera has said the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) has already unlocked two important projects barely three months after its launch on October 18 2021.
He said this at the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) in Lilongwe yesterday where he worked from his office for the first time since taking over the presidency on June 28 2020.
Chakwera arrived at OPC a few minutes before 8.30 in the morning and held meetings in-camera with officials up to 11.17am when he emerged to address the media.
It was a rare sight of heavy security personnel at Capital Hill with the whole OPC building tightly guarded by armoured Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers and Malawi Police Service officers.
The President left immediately after addressing the media to attend the Sadc Extraordinary Summit at Bingu International Convention Centre where leaders are reviewing the peace and security situation in Mozambique.
During the address, Chakwera said the team he instituted to drive the PDU has removed the bottlenecks that were hindering the Confederation of Business Women in Comesa, a project which has stagnated for seven years and the Nchalo Greenbelt Project that for three years did not make much progress.
“These projects are among those that should have been implemented a long time ago, but there were a lot of man-made bottlenecks, which were blocking them, but now we have unlocked them through the PDU,” he said.
The PDU was established in Chakwera’s office with a team of professionals working to ensure that key priorities he promised to deliver are implemented by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) mandated to do so.
Under the PDU, there is delivery laboratory as a main activity where a team from the President’s office works with controlling officers and directors from specific MDAs to ensure that programmes and projects in the MDAs are implementing the Tonse government promises.
PDU head Colleen Zamba said the Confederation of Business Women in Comesa project will see Comesa constructing 15-storey twin towers, a five-star hotel, a business complex with a 520 vehicle capacity car park worth $110 million.
She said the land for the project has already been identified at Area 34 in Lilongwe and work is expected to start in June 2022.
“Malawi won this project in 2013, but there have always been unnecessary delays. We are happy now that the deed for the land is ready. It came three days ago and we are just waiting for the Ministry of Lands to finalise roads and other preparatory works,” said Zamba.
She said the Nchalo Greenbelt project was choked by a number of factors, including payment of wages, but now everything has normalised and by next week the project will start.
“There were challenges, including inflating of figures of wages arrears, but through the PDU, it was discovered that the arrears are just K99 million and out of this K44 million has already been released to be paid to the owners. So the project is good to proceed,” Zamba said.
The Nchalo Greenbelt Project is estimated to benefit 20 000 cotton farming households on 10 000 hectares with an investment of K18 billion.