Malawi’s transport costs are set to reduce to regionally competitive levels while increasing the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila has said.
He made the remarks at the launch of the revised National Transport Sector Policy on Tuesday in Lilongwe.road
Transport costs in Malawi are among the highest within the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).
And recent assessment showed that transport cost share of landed imports stood at 56 percent and 30 percent for exports.
Kasaila, who simultaneously launched the National Construction Industry Policy, said the new transport policy has been formulated as a critical tool to coordinate investments in the transport sector and ensure that they contribute to the goal of reducing transportation costs.
“High transport costs compromise the competitive edge for Malawian products on the international market and increase the cost of imports,” said the minister.
Kasaila said the revised policy is also expected to provide direction and intent of government in the development of the transport sector for it to effectively contribute towards Malawi’s short-term and long-term development.
The goal of the policy, Kasaila said, is to ensure a coordinated and efficient transport infrastructure that foster a safe and competitive operation of viable, affordable and sustainable transport services.
In his remarks, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Malawi MarchelGerrmann, whose government is a key partner of Malawi’s transport sector, said the revised policy addresses the need for a better connectivity of Malawi within the region.
“Updating of the National Transport Sector Policy was necessary indeed. Needless to say that in 10 years, the operating environment and the needs of the sector had changed substantially,” said Gerrmann.
The purpose of the National Transport Sector Policy is to guide operations of the sector and was first approved by Cabinet in 1999 before being reviewed for the first time in 2004 to incorporate emerging and crosscutting issues like gender, HIV and Aids, and the environment.
The revised policy has taken into account emerging issues in order to ensure that it continues to be relevant to the sector.