Roads Fund Administration (RFA) has pledged to scale up the new road maintenance programme, Community Road Maintenance Programme (CRMP) to more districts in the country, from the 15 that are currently benefiting.
RFA board chairman George Patridge made the commitment on Friday at Sunbird Mount Soche when RFA handed over road maintenance tools and protective wear valued at K82 million to community road maintenance clubs.
For the 2012/13 financial year, RFA allocated K400 million (about $953 000) towards road maintenance under the programme and according to Patridge, over 257 maintenance clubs with a membership of 2 324 are benefiting.
“The members of the Community Road Maintenance Clubs are effective January 2013 engaged on a daily wage rate of K500, payable monthly, which is a 67 percent increase from K300 per day. As RFA, we are committed to scale up the Community Road Maintenance Programme to more districts in the near future.
“This handing over of tools and protective wear symbolises our continued commitment to sustainable maintenance of community roads in Malawi and the provision of occupational safety to the community road maintenance clubs,” he said.
Among other things, the clubs and their members will receive wheel barrows, rakes, hoes, raincoats, reflective jackets, slashers, shovels, gum boots and buckets.
Speaking on behalf of the 15 district assemblies, Mulanje district commissioner Jack Nguluwe expressed gratitude to government through RFA and development partners.
“This is a timely donation for road maintenance as this is the best time to maintain our roads as the roads have just tapered off. These maintenance tools are cheap compared to others like tractors and graders that we used in the past which needed fuel.
“There are alot of benefits to this programme. Among other things, it will ease mobility of community people from rural areas to cities and towns; there will be increased service delivery by the councils, for instance, ambulances will use the roads easily to ferry the sick to hospitals and rural and urban migration will be reduced as people will be able to get social amenities by going to towns and back,” said Nguluwe.
One of the beneficiaries, community site foreman for Dzaone Club in Mulanje, Smart Mpinga said their work would now be easier and faster.
“The hoes we were using were short, but with these new ones, we will be able to work faster. We were also using leaves to alert motorists but now we have reflectors for our safety,” he said.
He also commended RFA for adjusting the money they get. He indicated that club members used to get K3 800 (about $9) but are now getting K9 600 (about $22), and the foremen are now getting K11 000 (about $26) up from the K4 500 (about $10) they got before.
CRMP is funded by the roads funds. RFA collects the roads fund from two key sources, fuel levy (currently at K35 per litre of petrol and K30 per litre of diesel) as well as international transit fees (ITF) collected from foreign registered trucks.
RFA took over the financing of the Income Generating Public Works Programme (IGPWP) which was funded by European Development Fund (EDF) since August 2005 and was phased out in June 2011. The European Union are currently financing the Rural Infrastructure Development Programme (Ridp).