Treasury plans to allocate K69.6 billion in the 2019/20 National Budget for the initial implementation phase of the 20-year Malawi National Transport Masterplan.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera on Wednesday confirmed the planned allocation, saying it is divided into five-year investment plans.
The allocation will cater for road, rail, water and air transport sub-sector projects to be implemented within the year.
Said Chakwera: “In the initial phase, the ministry is focusing on projects that already have full feasibility studies and for which there was some commitment for financing from both government and development partners.”
Giving a breakdown of the allocation, he said K34.2 billion will be for road projects, K21.2 billion for road maintenance, K6.6 billion for air and water transport projects and K7.5 billion for rail sub-sector projects.
Chakwera said the money will finance both new and ongoing projects to ensure continuity and sustainability of the gains registered in the sector.
The plan envisages solving transportation infrastructure challenges which the private sector continue to cite as among drivers of high cost of doing business.
Some of the projects include the rehabilitation of Chileka International Airport runway, safeguarding of aerodromes across the country, rehabilitation of Nkhata Bay–Dwangwa Road, dualisation of selected roads in Blantyre, construction of inland weighbridges at Bwengu in Mzimba, Dwangwa in Nkhotakota and Dedza and construction of Likoma Jetty.
Chakwera said the ministry has, so far, submitted project concept notes to a number of potential financiers and regional bodies, including Southern African Development Community (Sadc), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the African Union.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) head of real sector and macroeconomic policy Hope Chavula said it is commendable that government is diversifying the transport needs of the country.
He said the private sector is affected by high cost of doing business partly due to the high cost of transport.
“We need to start investing in other neglected transport sectors. If government shows seriousness, the private sector will respond,” he said.
Road Transport Operators Association (Rtoa) treasurer general Elton Viola welcomed government’s move to revamp the transport sector, saying it will improve their business.
The plan is estimated to cost $9.5 billion (about K7 trillion) between 2017 and 2037.