The Parliamentary Committee on Budget and Finance says it is impressed with the progress on Kamuzu Barrage even though the project has overshot by almost six months.
The three-year engineering works underway at Liwonde were supposed to be completed by October 2017, but were extended to mid-2018 partly due to delayed arrival of imported equipment.
Speaking when the committee toured the vital bridge across Shire River recently, the legislators expressed satisfaction with the work done so far.
They backed the contractor’s failure to meet deadline, saying it was inevitable and manageable-“not worrisome”.
“Overall, the committee is satisfied with the progress. Having witnessed what they have done and briefed on the job that is remaining, we feel the contractors are doing a commendable job,” said committee chairperson Rhino Chiphiko.
When asked about the extension period, he said the delays were “acceptable” and beyond the contractors’ ability.
He explained: “In the construction sector, delays will always be there. What is important is that they have to do a good job. It does not make sense to rush in order to meet deadline, but do a poor job.”
The upgrade of the barrage, which regulates the amount of water flowing to the country’s hydropower generation schemes down the Shire, is bankrolled by a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from the World Bank.
So far, slightly over half of the works has been completed. The contractor is finalising construction on 14 panels of the bridge and installation of seven floodgates.
In an interview, consultants’ team leader Jan Roti was optimistic that the works would be over by the 2018 deadline.
He said the delay was primarily due to failure to ship relevant equipment into the country as a result of restrictions in Europe.
The multipurpose bridge regulates flow of water in the country’s longest river where over 95 percent of the country’s power is generated.