Plem Construction and Citi Building Joint Venture site in-charge Mohandas Pillai yesterday handed over keys for staff houses and hostels to Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume in a partial hand over of Nkhata Bay District Hospital,.
Kumpalume toured the modern hospital touted as the largest district hospital in the country.
“The hand over ceremony marks the beginning of the end of the construction project which has been in the news due to delays,” said Kumpalume after touring the 350-bed hospital funded by a $18.7 million (about K10.6 billion) Opec Fund for International Development loan. Government will contribute K400 million to the project.
The construction works overshot the deadline and cost following government’s failure to pay the contractor on time and Kumpalume said they have reached an agreement on how to settle the debt which Pillai projected at K1.3 billion.
Five years ago, government obtained a $10.7 million loan from Opec for an initial capacity of 250 beds, but it needed an additional $8 million after changing the design to accommodate 100 more beds.
During the visit, the delegation from Capital Hill was welcomed with fumes of fresh paint, sights of workers at work and sounds of hammers fixing final touches.
President Peter Mutharika is next month set to open the facility whose outstanding works comprise construction of a road network on the premises complete with 69 staff houses—58 of them ready for occupancy starting this week.
According to the contractor, they are on course to complete the long-awaited hospital by September 30.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Alex Mdooko said health workers are ready to occupy the new campus this week as a security measure following the partial handover.