Government has made a decision to devolve the responsibility of roads construction and reconstruction to local authorities starting with the cities as a means of enhancing development in the country, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa has said.
Nankhumwa was speaking on Tuesday when he presided over the ground breaking ceremony of the 2 kilometres Chimwankhunda Living waters turn-off to Zion road marking the start of city roads upgrading project in Blantyre.
Said Nankhumwa; “Currently my ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works in the development of a devolution plan for the rural roads sector. This will result into the District Councils also accessing resources for the improvement of the community roads.”
Nankhumwa said government has allocated K1.8 billion ($2.5 million) to Blantyre and Lilongwe City Councils, K1.4 billion ($2million) to Mzuzu and K1 billion ($1.4 million) to Zomba City Councils respectively “so that the country’s cities have good road infrastructure for easy access to public amenities such as hospitals, schools and markets among others.”
He advised contractors working on the roads to successfully execute the projects according to expectations.
Mayor for Blantyre City Noel Chalamanda said so far, the council has received K1.150 billion ($1.6 million) which will facilitate the commencement of construction work on three roads namely Angelo Goveya to Manje, Chilomoni Ring Road and Living Waters to Zion in Chimwankhunda.
He said construction works on the other roads namely; Off Mugabe Highway to Mpingwe, Chimseu to Magalasi and Landrover Chilimba to Level crossing in Magalasi will commence immediately government disburses the remaining funds.
“We are very optimistic that the remaining funds would be remitted to us very soon and that the work on the other three roads will start immediately we receive money,” he said.
Chalamanda said least K150 million ($202 977) of the already disbursed money has been used to rehabilitate street lights in the city to enhance security.
Contractors for the three roads include Eistern Construction for Chimwankhunda Living Waters-Zion road, Fargo Engineering Limited for Chilomoni Ring Road and Hema Construction for the Angelo Goveya-Manje road.
A resident from Chimwankhunda Township Margaret Chawawa said once completed the road will ease their mobility especially during rainy season.
“We have been having problems using this road in the rainy season. It becomes muddy and slippery while in dry season it becomes so dusty. I am so happy that finally the project has materialised,” Chawawa said.