The Roads Fund Administration (RFA) has admitted that its K2 billion Chingeni Toll Plaza project will miss its completion deadline, due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Toll gates are barriers where drivers pay an amount of money to use the road.
Speaking on Wednesday when the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Corporations and State Enterprises inspected the project site, RFA chief executive officer Stewart Malata said the project, along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1, was scheduled to be completed on December 15 this year but the deadline has been shifted to March 2021.
He said: “The challenges that came with Covid-19 have affected progress here. There were a number of items that are coming from across the borders. However, due to lockdowns especially in South Africa, it has been a big challenge to bring them here.”
Malata bemoaned that the completion delay will mean RFA paying extra costs, though he said the consulting engineer has not finalised the assessment.
The Parliamentary Committee chairperson Isaac Kaneka said the project delay is understandable. He expressed hope that the toll gate projects will help improve government revenue.
“We just hope that the automated system which RFA will install will not break down persistently giving way to manual transactions which are prone to abuse,” he said.
RFA said it expects to collect K45 billion annually from the Chingeni Toll Plaza once completed. The parastatal will use the funds for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s roads.