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M1 Road rehabilitation delays

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Felix Mlusu

The Covid pandemic has delayed rehabilitation works on the M1 Road, which was earmarked for a 400 million Euros [about K397 billion]- worth project.

The targeted section stretches from Kamuzu International Airport Turn-off in Lilongwe to Chiweta in Rumphi District, a distance of over 300 kilometres. It excludes the stretch from Chiweta up north.

Finance Minister Felix Mlusu said there was no alternative and the government was waiting for consultants from the European Union, who are funding the project through European Investment Bank.

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He, however, said it was not known when they would come into the country due to travel restrictions that were introduced to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“So, we are praying that Covid should disappear very soon; then, we are going to finalise all the logistics for us to start rehabilitating this road,” Mlusu said.

The minister added that some parts of the road were “very bad and dangerous”.

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“We are in touch with them. We are telling them that we have to rehabilitate the road as soon as possible. But they have to do their own planning and see when it is convenient and safe for them to come and meet with us,” he said.

Transport Ministry spokesperson Andrew Mthiko said the project was in two phases; the first one was from Kamuzu International Airport Turn-off (Lilongwe) to Mzimba Turn-off while the second phase would start from Kacheche to Chiweta in Rumphi.

He said there were plans to rehabilitate Chiweta Road, but the government was still looking for funds.

Malawi is a land-locked country that depends on neighbouring countries for access to the sea.

The country, therefore, uses the Northern Corridor to transport goods to and from Tanzania.

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