Ministry of Transport and Public Work has said about K2 billion has been set aside for grading and reshaping the country’s rural roads damaged during the 2018/19 rainy season.
The project, which targets feeder earth roads affected by rains, will also include installation of minor drainage structures such as culverts and improving drainage system.
Launching the project in Thyolo on Sunday, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango said the project is being funded by the Government of Malawi through fuel levy.
He, however, bemoaned lack of equipment for the project, calling on the business community to invest in the construction industry and make available necessary construction machinery to avoid delays.
“As you know, heavy machinery such as graders are expensive. In the past, the Japanese Embassy used to provide us graders through the Plant and Vehicle Hire Service.
“This is why we are in discussions with a number of investors as well as the Japanese Embassy to reintroduce the programme so that we are able to expedite road projects,” said Mhango.
On his part, Roads Authority (RA) chief executive officer engineer Emmanuel Matapa said out of a total of 15 451 kilometres (km) road network in Malawi, 11 000 km are still unpaved.
“After the rains, we need to come up with interventions to improve accessibility. We will select the roads and prioritise depending on finances.
“This is crucial as it is also a response towards the disasters we had which left many roads damaged,” he said.
On the main roads and bridges that were damaged during the disaster in March this year, Matapa said RA is waiting for Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (Dodma), Treasury and the donor community to assist with the K4.6 billion required for maintenance of the roads that were damaged.
This year, RA plans to rehabilitate about 2 500 km at a cost of about K2 billion, 833 km of which will be from the Southern Region to cost K624 million.
Sub Traditional Authority Mlenga of Thyolo hailed the project, describing it as crucial in ensuring socio-economic development. n