People living on Likoma Island have lamented transport challenges to and from the district, arguing that they affect their lives in so many aspects.
Speaking to Malawi News during the week, Sub Traditional Authority Kabuthu from Chizumulu Island said the development disrupts their social economic life.
The development comes at a time when the Energy Generation Company (Egenco) has shelved plans of a boat procurement project for the island.
“Sometime if we have to go procure food, it takes time for us since we use Ilala which is, we can say is slow as it has days it travels. Our businesses are struggling because of the same transportation issues. We have issues of ferrying sick people from the island to the main land that is also a problem. So we want government to consider giving us a ship that will operate direct from Likoma to Nkhata- Bay and Monkey-Bay,” he said.
Efforts to speak to Minister of Tourism Michael Usi proved futile as he could not pick up our calls.
Egenco planned to procure a 75-ton boat to be ferrying fuel to Likoma and ordinary passengers connecting the islands and lakeshore districts such as Nkhata Bay.
According to Kabuthu, Ilala, which was assembled in 1952, does have occasional breakdowns, which makes life difficult in as far as transportation is concerned.
“What we want is reliable transport. There should be an investment in the transport sector. Its either the government buys another ship because Ilala is no longer reliable. It is old! The challenge is that we are subjected to unseaworthy boats when the ship breaks down,” he said.
Apart from Ilala, the other reliable ship the islanders depend on is MV Chilembwe which is small, expensive and does not carry large amounts of goods.
Egenco spokesperson, Moses Gwaza, said the plan to purchase the boat has been struck off because the company no longer needs to transport fuel to the islands because they installed solar powered electricity.
It was envisaged that the Egenco boat would have a capacity to carry seven crew staff members and 25 additional people.