National Bank of Malawi (NBM) has touted its state-of-the-art Blantyre Head Office as the largest private sector investment in the country that will cost the financial institution K7.4 billion ($44m) when fully completed.
NBM chief executive officer George Partridge told journalists on Monday that initially, when the nine- floor building was being conceptualised in 2003, the cost was put at K3.5 billion.
But due to the delay in finishing, the costs escalated.
“Over the years, the cost of the building is estimated to have doubled and by the time the project will be fully completed, we would have spent K7.4 billion,” said Partridge, adding that the funds for the construction of the building were internally generated.
He observed that the building of the head office is in line with the bankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strategy of rebranding to improve its image and customer service through increased operational efficiencies because all divisions are in one building.
The construction of the building was not without challenges, according to Partridge.
“Several challenges were encountered during construction of the new head office building. [For example, there were] protracted delivery lead times for imported materials from China and South Africa and lack of specialised building materials from the local market, stalled the project on a number of occasions. It has taken the bank longer to finish the building than originally planned,” he explained.
Partridge said much as the building is now complete, there are few bits and pieces that still have to be attended to before it is finally handed over to the bank by the contractors, Shire Fitzpatrick Joint Venture, which constructed the shell and SR Nicholas, as managing contractors.
The bankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s general manager Mcfussy Kawawa said the occupation of the head office has enabled the bank to save on some costs for rented premises.
He stressed that some of the bankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s services which were located in rented premises have now been accommodated in the head office.
The building is accommodating 350 employees and has nine floors with two floors below the ground level, making it one of the tallest buildings in Blantyre. Each floor has two wings which are identical.
It also has a staff car park on the upper basement with customer car parks at the front and rear of the building.