The Parliamentary Committee of Natural Resources suspects that some government ministries and agencies are playing hide-and-seek on the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project.
Committee members observed this on Tuesday during a virtual meeting with Ministry of Forestry, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Ministry of Finance officials.
Chairperson of the committee Werani Chirenga said while Ministry of Forestry and LWB officials were interested in the Diamphwi Water Project, which they have started implementing, they were failing to say the truth about the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project.
“Our observation as a committee is that Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance and Lilongwe Water Board [officials] are playing hide and seek but we want to recommend to the government that, due to the scarcity of water in Lilongwe, the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project is the best option.
“Diamphwi project will not be sustainable because we are failing to manage Dzalanyama Forest Reserve and Diamphwi and Lilongwe rivers come from Dzalanyama. At the rate deforestation is taking place at the forest, we will end up going back to the Salima Water Project,” Chirenga said.
He said the government wanted a change of type of pipes that Khato could use.
“But we have in mind that the costs are going to be high and Khato won’t be able to implement the project within the cost of $315 million, as they have already reduced it from the original cost of $405 million,” he said.
Forestry and Natural Resources Ministry Principal Secretary Yanira Mtupanyama and LWB officials told the committee that what government officials should prefer is that Khato should use Ductile Iron Pipes and this is what they have recommended to the Ministry of Finance.
This did not please Khato Civils Chief Executive Officer Mongezi Munyani, who expressed dissatisfaction with how government officials were handling the project.
Munyani told the committee that Ductile Iron Pipes are manufactured in Europe, Brazil and China and, with the Covid-19 challenge, there could be serious problems as many factories are either closed or not able to produce the required number of pipes as per project schedule.