By Wezzie Gausi
The Ministry of Transport and Public Works has said it will review the concession agreement with Mota-Engil Company, which was given the responsibility of managing water transportation in the country.
In 2013, Mota-Engil assumed management of ports and water transport in Malawi. The company was awarded the concession to be managing the Lake Malawi ports of Chipoka, Chilumba Nkhata Bay and Monkey Bay for 35 years.
However, Transport Minister Jacob Hara faulted the company for failing to manage water transport systems as required.
Hara said, among other things, the company was supposed to be rehabilitating ports but the situation had worsened as most jetties are in bad shape.
“We, as a ministry, have resorted to going back to the drawing board and reviewing the agreement we have with the company. We are wondering why all this is happening. They are failing to manage water transport systems which are under their jurisdiction.
“The government will be engaging the company soon to map the way forward but it is good to note that plans are underway in the ministry to renovate all jetties in the country and the work will commence soon,” Hara said.
Mota-Engil spokesperson Thomas Chafunya said the company, as holding company of Malawi Shipping and Malawi Ports, would be happy to learn from the current administration about its renewed commitment to develop water transport systems.
“The review meeting will surely accord both parties an opportunity to evaluate bottlenecks and find the way forward. In concession agreements like these, both parties make commitments which, indeed, need to be reviewed as time goes by,” Chafunya said.
The agreement with Mota- Engil was aimed at promoting an efficient system of maritime transportation which would facilitate easy movement of people and goods.
In 2013, Mota-Engil offered to, among other things, employ 79 local workers at the ports, thus guaranteeing their work positions, with an investment in technical training for them also projected.