MCA targets November for project launch

MCA targets November for project launch

Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara says government plans to revive the Lilongwe-Blantyre railway line as part of its master plan to spur economic growth by reducing transport costs.

Speaking in Lilongwe yesterday during the launch of the ministry’s 2023-2030 Strategic Plan, he observed that transport costs in the country contribute about 50 percent of the prices of products coming on the market.

Thus, the minister said cutting down on transport costs could in turn reduce prices of products and further improve the efficiency and resilience of the local markets.

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He said to achieve this, government is planning to re-introduce the Lilongwe-Blantyre rail line.

Said Hara: “The second phase will connect to the Mchinji railway line through to Zambia.”

Currently, trains operate between Limbe in Blantyre and Liwonde through to Nacala port in Mozambique. There is also a link to Balaka.

Rehabilitation of the link to Beira Port in the Sena Corridor is underway with construction of a railway line between Bangula and March in Nsanje while the link to Limbe is yet to be effected.

It is not immediately known how much Malawi would save by caputalising on rail transport, but Netherlands-based LTE Logistics & Transport estimates that a single freight train running from Rotterdam to Vienna, a distance of 1 159.4 kilometres, transporting the same load as 40 trucks, consumes a diesel equivalent of approximately 3 500 litres compared to 18 700 litres fumed on the road.

Based on the current price of diesel in Malawi, switching from road to rail transport would translate into savings of about K41.55 million in fuel alone over the stated distance.

According to the minister, the strategic plan will create a roadmap and framework to ensure that key projects in the road and construction sectors are linked to the Malawi 2063 Vision (MW2063) the country’s long-term development blueprint.

He said the 2023-2030 Strategic Plan creates timelines for the ministry to implement the MW2063 and the Malawi National Transport Master Plan.

In his remarks, the ministry’s Principal Secretary David Mzandu called on local road authorities to benchmark the success of the strategic plan on how it improves livelihoods.

He said: “The new plan should focus on ensuring that resources allocated to building and construction are used with integrity to guarantee that they can lift the life of a person in the village.

 “That poor woman in the village pays minibus fare when commuting. They pay when they go to the maize mill. They contribute to the road fund. But the problem is that we do not use the resources with integrity. If we do, then we can uplift the lives of the poor people.”

Meanwhile, Hara also announced that the ministry is in talks with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to revise downwards the 10 percent withholding tax on construction projects. This follows concerns from the contractors that the tax was exorbitant.

In the Malawi Transport Infrastructure Assessment programme, the bank observed that the country’s infrastructure gap is significant, ranking 129 out of 140 countries in the 2019 Global Competitiveness Index.  

The post MCA targets November for project launch first appeared on Nation Online.

The post MCA targets November for project launch appeared first on Nation Online.