Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has asked government to consider investing in water transport which, the party argues, is cheaper for consumers.
Parliament has approved the International Development Association (IDA) funded Southern Africa Trade and Transport Facility Programme loan bill which has a 40-year repayment period on 0.75 percent per year with a 10 year grace period.
It aims to borrow $40 million (about K16 billion) for the rehabilitation of the M1 Road stretches between Karonga and Songwe (40 kilometres), Bwengu and Chiweta (60km) and Lilongwe and Kasungu (150 km), among other things.
Commenting on the bill, MCP spokesperson on Finance, James Kusamba-Dzodzi, said the bill would not lessen the burden of cost of goods as a result of high transportation costs.
“Why didn’t government consider water transport between Karonga and Mangochi. We should not just follow what the donors say considering that we are trying to lessen the cost on our people. This bill will not do that,” he said.
Kusamba-Dzonzi said the rail sector would have been a better alternative to road transport because it is cheaper.
He also wondered why the bill did not specify the amount or quantity of goods that would be facilitated through the rehabilitation of the sections of the North-South corridor.
The bill would also be used to buy road safety equipment for the Malawi Police Service (MPS) like breathalysers and conducting of baseline survey on the use of vehicle seatbelts on the roads of Malawi. n