Govt, museum disagree over K10bn Likoma Port project

A wrangle has arisen over the construction of a K10 billion port in Likoma as Fudwe Museum is accusing government of starting works on the site without their consent and compensations arrangement.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works dated April 8 2019, Fudwe Museum managing partner Barnabas Tauzi said this is illegal and unprocedural as it contravenes recommendation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (Esia) report of the project and Lands Acquisition Amendment Act (2017).

Viphya Pontoon delivers machinery at the Likoma Port site

“We have observed that our concerns (details of which were communicated to you already) regarding damage that our ecotourism business will suffer when the Jetty Project is implemented have not been taken on board in computing the compensation package,” reads the letter.

Tauzi said his business is on the losing side since the project begun on March 27 2019. He said once the port becomes operational, he envisages more losses since his business depends on the eco-tourism system along the island’s Mbuzi Hill.

He has since given government up to May 3 2019 to make proper compensations and address other concerns, failure which he said he will seek legal assistance.

In an interview, Marine Department acting director Captain John Mhango maintained that government followed all procedures in compensating those affected by the project.

He said they gave out cash amounting to K25 million to all affected households, except the museum owners who protested the K976 000 compensation package as per evaluations.

“The main problem is that owners of the museum are resisting the project. We invited them during evaluations but they didn’t come. They also denied the compensation offer after the evaluations. It is after launching the project that they have shown interest to discuss the matter,” he said.

Mhango said the ministry is ready to discuss the matter and see how best they can factor in all their grievances on the issue of compensation.

Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango launched the project last month and the contractor, Mota-Engil, has since started clearing the land.

According to designs, the port is expected to have a jetty, warehouse, port offices, customs and immigration offices, ablution blocks, restaurant, passenger lounge and an access road.

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