Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango says government has deployed marine experts to Likoma Island to assess a site for construction of a jetty.
The team from the Department of Marine Services is expected to conclude their studies by October, he said.
“It is not an easy task though because the lake is drying up. This movement [of water levels] cause problems. If we do a study today, we will find that the lake has receded by few metres when we return,” he said.
Water transport is a lifeline to the mainland where Likoma and Chizumulu islanders get food and other basic needs.
However, ships dock more than 100 metres off-shore as both islands have no jetty.
The islanders said they pay extra costs to private boats that take them and goods to vessels.
“It is our commitment that the jetty will be constructed and it must be done well,” said Mhango.
According to the minister, government is in the process of procuring a contractor for Nkhata Bay Jetty.
However, he could not disclose the deadlines of the process.
Mercy Chicora, who runs a shop at Likoma, said boat owners are cashing in on businesspeople desperate to ship their commodities from passenger ships.
“The private boat operators charge K3 000 to ferry goods that cost K2 000 on MV Ilala,” she said.
In June, Chief Mkumpha asked government to fast-track construction of the jetty to reduce the costs and travel problems. n