K16 billion Songwe border post ready in 3 months
Construction of the $16 million (over K16 billion) Songwe One- Stop Border Post (OSBP) in Karonga is expected to start in three months, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has said.
The border post is sandwiched between Malawi and Tanzania.
Principal Secretary responsible for marginalised small and medium enterprises and cooperatives in the ministry, Francis Zhuwao, said the construction cost is above other OSBPs such as Mchinji because of the landscape at Songwe and devaluation of the Kwacha.
He said this in Mchinji on Friday when he accompanied members of the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurance and Public Reforms Committee of Parliament, who wanted to appreciate positive changes the Mchinji OSBP has brought since its opening last year.
According to Zhuwao, since its inception, the border post has brought significant positive changes including increased revenue collection and reducing the time travellers spend at the border.
“Passengers are now spending five to 10 minutes when, previously, without this infrastructure, they were spending close to two hours. Similarly, in terms of goods, there has been a significant reduction in travel time from five to six days to almost a full day,” he said.
According to the ministry, the construction of Dedza OSBP is at almost 95 percent and what remains is furniture and ICT equipment.
Chairperson for the Committee Noel Lipipa commended the government for opening the modern border post in Mchinji, describing it as a state-of-the-art facility.
“It is a state-of-the-art building. We hope that we will have such one-stop border posts in all the borders,” he said.
The new Mchinji border post cost $9.5 million while Dedza post cost $11 million.
The Mchinji-Mwami post was commissioned by President Lazarus Chakwera and his Zambian counterpart Hakainde Hichilema on December 7 2022.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.