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Collapsed Nkhata Bay Jetty causes transport problems

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Nkhata Bay Jetty has remained unrepaired five months after it sunk due to pressure of Mwera winds thereby causing problems for water transport users.

With part of the jetty submerged in water, big vessels such as Ilala and Chilembwe cannot dock which means people are being forced to pay K500 as maritime fare for them and their cargo to be ferried ashore.

But Minister of Transport Malison Ndau has assured all water transport users, particularly those in Nkhatabay that government is doing everything possible to refloat the sunken jetty.

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Ndau said in a telephone interview yesterday that government is equally concerned with the challenges people are facing resulting from the desolate state that the dock is in.

According to Ndau, Motal-Engil who pledged to repair the jetty, was yet to furnish his office with results of the feasibility study conducted on the facility.

“We have taken a bit of time to have the jetty back in shape. There were a number of uncompleted technical issues which came to a halt due to a change of leadership at Mota. But I am pleased to say I am coming from meeting the new administration and they remain committed,” explained Ndau.

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“It is also in the interest of government to put up a proper docking structure at Likoma,” he added.

Ndau then disclosed that with just three months in office he has a broad vision to ensure a vibrant water transport sector in the country among others.

“I have been studying things on the ground, you are aware that my ministry has numerous parastatals which I have been visiting. After that I will compile all what I think can make our transport industry tick locally and internationally,” Ndau explained.

Commenting on the jetty spokesperson for Mota- Engil Thomas Chafunya said that variations in water levels on Lake Malawi have made it difficult for the company to decide on whether to rehabilitate the collapsed jetty or redesign a new one.

“Whatever step employed has to be a permanent one, and we are committed to work on that jetty with the Malawi Government,” said Chafunya who could not disclose the actual time when work would commence.

Built in 1957 the Nkhatabay Jetty is said to have outlived its usefulness with broken pontoons and chains.

Meanwhile, in the proposed 2016-2017 budget transport and public works has been allocated a sum of K32.4 billion but ironically no single project in water transport has been highlighted in the statement.

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