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Government commits to fund transport plan

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The government has said it will commit necessary resources towards implementation of the National Transport Master Plan (NTMP).

Minister of Transport, Sidik Mia, said the ministry will explore fuel levies and other road taxes to boost funding for the NTMP.

This came out on the sidelines of his recent tour of a section of the Limbe – Marka railway line under rehabilitation.

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“We are taking measures to see to it that funding is equivalent to what we are doing.

“We will make sure that those resources are channeled to the rightful use and develop the sector to be at par with, or even surpass our peers in the region,” Mia said.

This comes as one of the country’s development partners, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), recently indicates that the plan was underfunded.

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In its transport sector position paper published in May, Jica highlights that on average, the government allocates K30 billion (approximately $41 million) to the sector annually, most of which goes to the road sector.

“In order for the National Transport Master Plan to be implemented successfully over the next twenty years, the government of Malawi needs to be contributing K100 billion (approximately $137 million) annually to the sector.

“In the Financial Year 2019/20 Malawi allocated K88.3 billion, which is below the K100 billion which we have estimated to be the minimum investment required in order to successfully implement the NTMP,” reads the paper in part.

In March 2018 the country launched the transport master plan which seeks to reduce transport costs and improve safety across all modes of transport.

The blue print, comes at a time the country’s transport system, which is dominated by road transport, is considered too expensive, thereby constraining the development of business and its peoples economic wellbeing.

The NTMP was prepared in order to guide a sustainable integrated multi-modal transport sector for the next twenty years.

It also addresses regulatory issues that need to be tackled in order to have smooth operations.

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