Three weeks after Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu bemoaned conditions of the country’s city roads, city councils have said they are committed to rehabilitating and completing road projects in their cities.
Presenting of the proposed K1.9 trillion 2021/22 National Budget on May 28, the minister said government has allocated about K25 billion to local councils for improvement of road infrastructure.
He said: “These are substantial amounts and can make a difference in the development of our cities. Government is, therefore, calling upon management of these city councils to work diligently to ensure that the allocated resources are used efficiently.”
In separate interviews with The Nation, Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre city councils spokespersons said they are committed to work on their city roads to improve the experience for road users.
In a written response, Lilongwe City Council spokesperson Tamara Chafunya, whose council was allocated K7.8 billion for maintenance and rehabilitation of roads, said the council is engaging a consultant to design roads and supervise construction.
She said: “This is probably the first time the council has been allocated such a substantial amount in one financial year. The projects under procurement will cost around K6 billion, meaning we will add more projects for the balance in the financial year starting July.”
Chafunya said the council has earmarked the upgrading of residential roads in all wards which should go into design phase once a full council meeting approves the list this month end.
“We have plans to construct the Area 25C to Dzenza Road, Makatani Road in Area 12 to Kauma and Area 44. We will also rehabilitate roads around main bus depots, including Malangalanga and some roads in Gulliver as the first lot,” she said.
On his part, Blantyre City Council spokesperson Anthony Kasunda said the council is upgrading North Road from Standard Bank in Limbe to Escom near Admarc Welfare, Naperi Bridge to Mahatma Ghandi Road and Kapeni Road to Mahatma Ghandi Road.
In addition, the council is improving slip lanes at Southend School, Keza Building, Kamba traffic lights and at Mahatma Ghandi traffic lights.
On his part, Mzuzu City Council spokesperson McDonald Gondwe commended the increased funding, saying they only received about K1 billion in the 2020/21 Budget.
He said: “We are working on projects in phases depending on need. The bypass road, which is almost completed, connects M1 at Luwinga via Zolozolo to M5 as the first stretch from Mzuzu Government Secondary School.”
When contacted, Zomba City Council spokesperson Mercy Chaluma asked for more time.
In the proposed 2021/22 National Budget, government has allocated K8.9 billion to Blantyre City Council, K7.8 billion to Lilongwe City, and K4.1 billion each to Zomba and Mzuzu city councils.
Last September, Mlusu said the bad state of roads is retarding the country’s socio-economic development.