President Mutharika said this on Thursday at Linjidzi Primary School ground in the area of Traditional Authority Lundu in Blantyre during the ground-breaking ceremony of the 62-kilometre Lirangwe – Chingale – Machinga Road which is expected to be constructed in three phases with funding from Malawi Government.
Said President Mutharika: “I know that there is a growing campaign out there that we’re just laying foundation stones for construction of roads without any progress. To the contrary, all the roads that we laid foundation stones for are in progress – not just one but all of them. I only do what I promise and I do what I promise,” Mutharika said.
The Malawi leader said the commencement of the construction of the road would enhance economic activities for people of Blantyre, Zomba, and Machinga districts upon its completion, on top of shortening the distance between Blantyre and Mangochi, which is probably the Malawi’s tourism hub.
He described the project as a proof of the National Transport Master Plan as outlined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS 3) which aims at developing the transport sector in the country in the next 20 years.
“My government has development of the people at heart and that is why I don’t want any part of the country to be left behind. I want development to spread everywhere so that people in rural areas have access to good roads, electricity as well as fast internet.
“This project will not only help people from the three districts to easily connect, but also help them progress in their various economic activities because of the good road network,” said Mutharika.
In his remarks, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango said the Ministry would guard and inspect the project jealously to ensure efficiency and quality of the work as well as timely completion.
Mhango said other administrations had let down people in the area with false promises of constructing of the road.
He said works on the road started two weeks ago such that 17 kilometres have already been cleared, an indication of government’s seriousness in delivering its campaign promise.
“It is quite pleasing that government is constructing roads not only in the Southern region but across the country to facilitate business activities for the growth of the country’s economy,” Mhango said.
The first phase of the project, which is being implemented by Mota-Engil, started in April and will cover about 19 kilometres at a cost of K5.3 billion for a period of 18 months.
Speaking on behalf of Chief Lundu, Traditional Authority Chigaru said being one of the most important roads in the country in terms of business potential, the upgrading of the road would ease problems of transporting farm produce to various markets.
“This community is an agricultural area where irrigation farming using water from the Shire River is done. But the problem comes in when farmers want to take crop produce to the market,” he said.
“Most of the produce is perishable and gets damaged before reaching the market. This makes many farmers to incur huge losses. We thank government for the project because we know this will be a thing of the past,” Chigaru said.