Ministry of Transport and Public Works says it needs about $9.15 billion (about K7 trillion) to fulfill its transport sector master plan which will run from 2018 to 2038.
A master plan is a long-term plan for guiding the sustainable planned development of a city, town or country and it seeks to reduce transport costs by shifting traffic from road to rail and in-land water transport along the country’s major corridors of Dar es Salaam, Nacala, Beira and Mtwara.
Speaking during a press conference in Lilongwe on Thursday, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango said the plan will help to strengthen and establish a multi-modal transport network and connectivity and strengthen regulation through the establishment of regulatory bodies.
He said: “In the road projects, we are undertaking 12 huge projects where contractors are already on the ground while five projects are upcoming.”
He cited the Zomba-Jali-Phalombe Chitakale Road, Thyolo-Thekerani- Muona-Makhanga Road, Liwonde-Mangochi Road, Lilongwe Old Airport Kasiya-Santhe Road, Mzuzu-Nkhata-Bay Road, Lumbadzi-Chezi and Njakwa-Livingstonia roads, among other projects in progress.
On the upcoming road projects, Mhango mentioned Ntcheu-Tsangano-Neno Road, upgrading of the Namatunu-Machinga Road, construction of the Blantyre Bypass Road, upgrading of the Kawere-Mkanda Road and upgrading of the Rumphi Hewe Road.
He said in the 2017/18 financial year, government has budgeted K2.1 billion to cover 4 820 kilometres of road network.
“These road projects once completed, will facilitate growth of equally important sectors such as agriculture, education, health, mining, tourism and fisheries.
“Apart from that, the road projects have generated about 2 100 jobs,” he said.
As part of implementing the master plan, Mhango said government plans to work on the rail, lake as well as air transport sectors to reduce travel costs.
“In a bid to improve aviation safety in our airports, government with support from the European Investment Bank [EIB] is procuring an assortment of essential aviation safety, navigation and security equipment,” he said.
In an interview, the ministry’s principal secretary Francis Chinsinga said the master plan will help the ministry to do things in an orderly manner.
“The master plan is of huge importance because you can see that after heavy investments in the road sector, we are now looking at the rail, water as well as aviation sector,” he said.
Over the past years, the country has been heavily dependent on the road sector, increasing transportation costs. n