The Roads Fund Administration (RFA) is a parastatal, whose role is to mobilise, administer and account for funds for the construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of public roads in an efficient, effective, transparent and sustainable manner for the benefit of road users in the country.
RFA strives to promote accountability and transparency in public roads financing and management.
For the past years, the fund has been relying on fuel levy as its major source of revenue to carry out its mandate.
In 2015, the government instituted public sector reforms, whereby the government approved four reform areas to be implemented by the RFA.
After successful implementation of the reforms, the fund registered a success in revenue growth, from K12 billion to K34 billion in 2017.
With this success, RFA planned to spend K32.4 billion on roads construction and maintenance this year.
RFA Publicist, Masauko Mngwaluko, said the total approved allocations for 2017/18 fiscal year comprise K21 billion for routine and periodic maintenance of the designated network, K7.4 billion for improvement of city roads rehabilitation programme, K6.4 billion for dual carriage way of Area 49 to parliament roundabout, K1.5 billion for emergency works and K3 billion for community roads maintenance programme.
He said the road improvements include improvement of road safety, road rehabilitation and street light improvement.
“The works that we are doing this time around are basically aimed at safety of the people. If you look at the designs of the rehabilitated roads, you will see that they have pedestrian walkways and cyclist pavements. Our intention is to have this design for all the city roads.
“The street light projects also offers safety among pedestrians and motorists,” Mngwaluko said.
He further said the government this year has approved a lot of money for the construction of new roads, which RFA is tasked to manage.
“We are managing funds for the Kasiya-Old Airport road which is progressing well and also the Njakwa-Livingstonia road which will commence soon,” he said.
Mngwaluko said the works for road rehabilitation will no longer focus on pothole patching but rather overhaul maintenance which helps to save a lot of funds.
How are the projects benefiting Malawians?
When the government projects are being carried out, it is expected that the citizenry should be a major beneficiary. Similary, with the works being done by various implementing partners whose funds are managed by the RFA, Malawians ought to benefit on a larger scale.
The benefits, according to Ngwaluko, are for individuals, households, communities and also companies.
In most projects, the RFA has engaged local contractors to do some of the works.
Master Construction is doing rehabilitation road works from Salima Turn off in Balaka to Nsipe in Ntcheu.
Master Site Manager, Chikondi Mwansambo, said the road works have provided the company with an opportunity to showcase its skills.
“For some time, we local contractors have been complaining that foreign companies get a lion’s share of most works in the country. The situation has now changed as the government, through the RFA, has given us an opportunity to do some of the works,” he said.
Mwansambo said Master is doing its best to come up with quality work.
“As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done here, but we are trying to be on time and also making sure that the work we are doing is of high quality. The materials used here are being tested every now and then according to the designs. We do not want to compromise our work,” Mwansambo said.
The road works have also provided job opportunities to Malawians.
Moses Kabwazi from Balaka Market is one lucky person who is now able to earn a decent living after being employed by Master Construction as a labourer.
Kabwazi said previously he used to burn charcoal to fend for his family.
“The road project here has benefitted me a lot. I am now on a full salary and am able to provide my family with all the necessities. Before I got this job, I was a charcoal burner. Even though I was selling charcoal, I was unable to meet my family needs,” he said, adding that he no longer burns charcoal.
She said the walkways are providing safety to road users in the city.
“We are now walking freely without any problems. The walkways are providing safety to us pedestrians and this has led to reduced accidents,” she said.
What changes have the projects brought to the cities?
Apart from beautifying the cities, the projects have also brought economic gains to the four cities of this country.
Mzuzu, which is running a number of projects has seen the number of tourists grow following the upgrading of earth roads to tarmac.
Mzuzu City Council Director of Engineering services, Fraver Bondwe, said the economic benefits are many.
He said the construction works, have created employment among the residents of the city, which has resulted in people having disposable income.
“There is also an increase in terms of volumes of trade as citizens are able to do business for more hours from morning up to around 10 pm in the evening.
“All these are contributing to the economic growth of the city and the nation at large. The improved roads have also helped in attracting more tourists into the city. Since the projects started, visitors from other councils are coming to see what we are doing and this means lodge operators are benefiting. The number of foreign tourists has also increased as previously we used to have earth roads that were not conducive,” he said.
Bondwe said the walkways have also helped the organisation to reduce the number of road accidents
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