There is little progress on the implementation of the Zomba-Jali-Phalombe-Chitakale Road in southern Malawi despite Parliament passing K500 million (about $2 million) for the completion of the project in the last financial year.
â€œThe implementation of the Zomba-Jali-Phalombe-Chitakale Road has been at a standstill because the work was suspended in 2008 due to lack of funds,â€ reads an annual economic report by the Ministry of Finance.
The construction of the 102-kilometre road to bitumen standard was expected to be completed in May 2008, but the deadline was shifted due to shortage of cement, steel, bitumen and fuel.
The cash-flow problems due to delayed payments have also negatively affected the project which is co-funded by the Malawi Government, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Opec Fund for International Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea).
Once completed, the road is expected to boost economic activities in the three districts.
In the 2011/2012 financial year, government allocated K550 million towards the project. But in the current financial year, money for the completion of the road doubled to about K1.1 billion.
Recently, the Kuwait Fund pledged $10 million (K2.8 billion) and Badea $40 million (K11 billion) towards the project whose main contractor for the project is M.A Kharafi and Sons. Kharafiâ€™s contract amounts to $57 million (K16 billion).
Â The 2012 government annual economic report says the project will resume as soon after government settles some outstanding money.
It also says the procurement of another supervising consultant is in progress and is expected to be completed before the end of the 2011/12 financial year. But sources at Ministry of Transport and Public Works said the process of hiring a consultant has been completed although the contract is yet to be finalised.
Both Minister of Transport Sidik Mia and his deputy Sosten Gwengwe could not be reached to comment on the slow progress of the road.
President Joyce Banda last month pledged to complete the road before 2014.