President Lazarus Chakwera has said he would like to see construction of the twin-tower 15-storey $110 million (about K90.2 billion) Confederation of Business Women in Comesa Convention Centre in Lilongwe expedited.
He was speaking at Capital Hill in Lilongwe after meeting with Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa, Trade Minister Sosten Gwengwe and Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe, as well as Greenbelt officials to discuss progress made on the issue of unlocking bottlenecks to landmark development projects under the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU).
Chakwera said he was happy that the convention centre project, which stalled for seven years, has been resuscitated.
The Malawi leader described the Comesa project as an international structure that every Malawian would be proud of.
“This project has stalled for seven years and, because we have removed all the obstacles, we are happy that the project will start this year,” Chakwera said.
PDU Coordinator Colleen Zamba said the project was expected to create jobs for over 2,000 Malawians.
According to Zamba, the convention centre would have a five-star hotel, an amusement park and a car park for 520 vehicles.
“It will probably be the first [of its kind] in Africa,” Zamba said.
In addition to Comesa Convention Centre, Chakwera also pushed for the rollout of Nchalo Greenbelt Limited which, he said, has the potential of producing both irrigated and rain-fed cotton and helping 20,000 farmers.
“There has not been any production in the last three years. We are starting this year, taking advantage of rain-fed and irrigation,” Chakwera said.
According to Zamba, there has been chaos over the last three years at Nchalo Greenbelt Limited as workers were not being paid.
Zamba noted that an audit of the project revealed that the workers were owed about K99 million.
She said the government had started paying the dues and that cotton production would restart in the next few days.