Likoma member of Parliament (MP) has said Egenco’s decision to abandon plans to procure a K2 billion boat that would have been used to transport goods and passengers to Likoma and Chizumulu islands will negatively affect the islanders.
The MP, Chrisopher Ashems Songwe, said the islanders banked their hope on the vessel to end their transport woes, but have since asked government to come to their aid.
In a written response, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) public relations officer Moses Gwaza confirmed that the company no longer plans to buy the boat whose main purpose was to transport diesel to power the island which has been surviving on generators as it is not connected to the national grid.
The boat would have also been used to carry passengers and other goods.
Gwaza said they see no need for the boat as the installation of solar panels has resulted in them generating three times more than the electricity demand.
In July last year, Egenco called for a tender to supply a 75 -tonne boat. But the tender has since been cancelled.
According to Gwaza, the funds meant for the boat “will be channelled towards more solar projects”.
But in a telephone interview yesterday, Songwe said he had banked his hopes on the Egenco project to help alleviate transport challenges.
He said while they have no control over Egenco’s decision, they would have loved the boat project to go on.
Meanwhile, Songwe said he has engaged responsible ministry, including the presidency, to lobby for improved transportation to Likoma and Chizumulu islands. He said they need new vessels because those in use are old and risky.
“I have made a presentation to government on what we need. We need a ship and I think government shall respond positively. Transport challenges are a long-standing issue. If we can have new vessels that will help in terms of having reliable transport, “said the MP who is also lobbying for an improved road network on the islands and has since received assurance from the government that it will be considered.