Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) has hailed road infrastructure projects currently underway, saying they will boost businesses.
Ibam president Mike Mlombwa, accompanied by MBL Holdings Limited chairperson Leston Mulli, said this in Blantyre on Tuesday during a press briefing on the country’s business trends in the wake of economic hardships facing the country.
He urged people to look at the positive side of the road projects which, he said, will increase business opportunities, particularly for small businesses.
“There have been problems to transport goods from one place to another because of bad roads or lack of them. Even the transport industry was heavily affected. Now that government has put roads infrastructure development a priority, we should celebrate,” he said.
Mlombwa admitted that it takes a lot of risks to start businesses, but stressed the risk worth taking because its fruits are for everyone to see.
“When we see a problem, we use proper channels to express it to government. We do not go to the podium to make noise,” he said.
On his part, Mulli appealed to Malawians to engage in businesses to develop the country’s economy.
“Businesses should not be left to one person. We want to see every one starting business ventures,” he said.
Lately, government has initiated a number of road projects which include the Mzuzu- Nkhata Bay, Jenda-Edingeni, Livingstonia-Njakwa, Mangochi- Liwonde and Thyolo-Thekelani-Muona-Makhanga.
Two weeks ago, President Peter Mutharika laid a foundation stone in Blantyre for the construction of a K11 billion dual carriage road from Clock Tower Roundabout to Chileka International Airport.
The President also launched the Blantyre By-pass Road, among the many projects his government has initiated.
But many people have queried the projects, with the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament questioning their viability in the absence of details on where funding will come from.
The committee’s chairperson, Rhino Chiphiko, accused government of not forthcoming in disclosing the sources of funding, fearing that it would incur more domestic debts by providing promissory notes.
“The continuous contraction of public debts to finance projects will be disastrous in the long-term. We are concerned that this is merely an election gimmick that will not be fulfilled due to delays in disbursement of funds at the expense of equally important projects in health and education,” he said.
But Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango has always defended road projects.
Speaking when he commissioned the newly-constructed Nasundu 1 Bridge in Blantyre last month, the minister said a good road infrastructure is key to enhancing the country’s socio-economic development.
“A good road network enables people to transport their agricultural produce, access social amenities and do a number of businesses, thereby improving people’s social status and contributing to national economic growth,” he said. n