Roads Fund Administration (RFA) and Blantyre City Council (BCC) have signed a financing agreement which will see installation of street lights along the 8.7 kilometre dual carriage Masauko Chipembere Highway.
The agreement is worth K400 million (about $560 000) and RFA will put in K360 million (about $502 000) while the council will square the difference.
Presiding over the signing ceremony in Blantyre yesterday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa observed that the lighting up of the highway would not only complement the beauty of the city but also help in curbing vandalism and theft.
He said the RFA and BCC agreement was a testimony of the essential role the fund was playing in developing the country’s road network and transportation services which are key in trade promotion.
He said: “Street lights do not only beautify the city… A city that is well lit throughout the night creates a conducive and safe environment for road users. It also promotes trade which is key to the country’s socio economic development.”
Installation of street lights will cover the 8.7 kilometre highway which starts from Larji Kuji in Blantyre to Illovo Roundabout in Limbe.
RFA chief executive officer (CEO) Stewart Malata said they entered into the financing pact considering the economic value of the street which connects two of the country’s busy economic hubs of Limbe and Blantyre central business district (CBD).
“This makes a busy road throughout the day and therefore, the absence of street lights did not enhance the safety aspect of the road users,” said Malata.
Blantyre City mayor Noel Chalamanda said the lighting of the highway has come as a relief to the city’s residents as it has a number of benefits, including enhancing security.
“More importantly, it will increase the quality of life of the residents and put to an end malpractices that occur during darkness,” he said.
This is the second financing agreement that RFA has entered into after a similar project with Lilongwe City Council (LCC) a few months ago.
Besides the agreement, RFA is also financing the rehabilitation of the stretch between Illovo Roundabout and Midima Turn-off in Limbe to the tune of K500 million. n