A Chinese investor who wanted to build a world class airport city close to Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe has transferred $6 billion (K4.5 trillion) worth of investment to Mongolia due to delays to acquire land.
The investor partnered with Airport Development Limited (ADL) to build an airport city, which could have had a five-star hotel, shopping malls, fuel service station, houses, health facilities as well as offices.
The land in question include 182 hectares from the junction on the Lilongwe-Kasungu M1 Road to KIA, 73 hectares along the same Lilongwe-Kasungu Road called Thovi Area and another 108.45 hectare plot between Lumbadzi Police Station and Department of Civil Aviation training school along the road to KIA.
While confirming plans to go into partnership with the Chinese investor, ADL chief executive officer Rodrick Chattaika said complications on land issues frustrated the investor.
He said: “For almost a year, we have been trying our best to get the over 180 hectare to start construction, but the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has been telling us that we need to buy the land first because it is not public land.”
Asked if he is aware that the investor has taken the money to Mongolia, a landlocked country in East Asia, bordered by China to the south and Russian to the north, Chattaika said he was in the dark.
According to a source, Bishui Investments, has now taken the money to Mongolia where they have invested about $17 billion in construction of industrial parks.
Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) director of investment promotion and facilitation Joshua Nthakomwa, who confirmed the investment amount, said in an interview the Chinese investor has decided to invest elsewhere.
“The truth of the matter is that administrative delays to sort out land transfers left them frustrated and they decided to move on,” he said.
Nthakomwa said the airport city would have transformed the outlook of Lilongwe and create jobs.
But Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi, in an interview on Monday, said on their part, they had already processed everything ready to be told in whose name the title deed for the land should be.
“We are still waiting for Mitc to tell us whose name the title deed should be because we already processed everything. “Even if Mitc comes to us today and tell us the name of the holder of the title deed, we will give them the documents,” said Muluzi.
Chinese Embassy economic councillor Hudson Wang said on Tuesday they are not aware of the investor because he was dealing directly with Mitc. n