Ten investors have expressed interest to partner Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) in the construction of the multi-million dollar Diamphwe Dam in Lilongwe, which is expected to reduce water shortages currently affecting the Capital City and the surrounding areas.
The Diamphwe Dam project is estimated to cost $300 million (K219 billion), but so far, LWB has managed to source $71 million (K52 billion) from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, according to LWB chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni.
Speaking in an interview in Lilongwe on Tuesday, he said the board has signed a lot of memoranda of understanding (MoU) with investors, but to get to the next stage where funds will be released is proving to be difficult.
He said this when Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda visited the Lumbadzi Ground Water Development Project in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
“There are several investors we have been talking to, but we are facing challenges to move to the next stage after signing MoUs.
“Maybe it is because of lack of the legal framework, but this project is important,” he said, citing investors from China, United Kingdom (UK), South Africa and Argentina.
Chikuni said LWB is operating at half the capacity and the foregone revenue is making it difficult for the board to operate efficiently.
Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya said the investors LWB has been courting are ready to provide commercial loans, but government is not ready to accumulate debts.
But Chaponda said government is committed to have all the water projects that are in the pipeline completed.
“We will make sure that all important dams that were there are brought back to their original standards. We want to do this because we lose a lot of water during the rainy season,” he said.
Lilongwe is experiencing critical water shortages with services being severely affected. The situation has been compounded further by frequent power blackouts and the board is rationing water. n