Malawians are fondly known for their appetite of foreign goods and services.
This huge appetite has multiple consequences which consumers do not see at hand.
The country loses out largely on foreign exchange as imports surpass exports; the same applies to job creation. By buying foreign goods, Malawians create jobs elsewhere while our own people fail to get employed.
The story is not different in the construction sector, where most jobs are offered to foreign contractors.
The reasons given for this move have been that foreign companies have capacity and at times they are able to fund themselves while local contractors would always demand part payment before the job commences.
However, the story is different with the Japanese Government project of upgrading local Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) into conventional schools.
Five CDSSSs were identified and this project namely Umbwi in Dedza, Kabekere in Ntcheu, Zomba Urban, Chimwalira in Nasawa Zomba and Muhasuwa in Chiradzulu, valued at K2.3 billion each.
Fargo Limited, a local construction company that has been in existence for over 40 years was entrusted with the construction of the schools.
The awarding of such a contract to a local company bears testimony that local construction companies can compete effectively with multinationals.
The understanding of the local demand and high quality infrastructure need made it easy for Fargo to complete its job on time as required by the National Industry Construction Council (NICC).
Construction works in the country, according to NICC, are mostly delayed resulting in high cost of the projects. This also affects the quality of the job and economic development of the country.
Fargo Site Agent, Hilary Tembo, said all construction works of the modern multipurpose built schools were finished and handed over within a timeframe of two years.
“As a company, we realise the importance of working within the timeframe and saving costs. Through this project, we have strived to compliment the government’s efforts of bringing high quality infrastructure to rural areas and reduce urbanisation.
“The imposing buildings, will attract not only students to attend classes but will also motivate communities to come up with such buildings and infrastructure in their areas,” said Tembo.
He further said the infrastructure will also motivate students to work hard in school and realize their dreams of turning around the country’s economic status.
Tembo noted that students and teachers are mostly not motivated due to poor infrastructure.
“The government has plans to have rural growth centres across the country as a way of motivating rural communities to be innovative and productive. As Fargo, we believe the new structures will change the mindset of the beneficiaries and make them aim high in economically transforming their areas,” Tembo said.
He also pointed out that local construction companies normally face problems in completing jobs on time, when the funders are not providing the funds on time.
“Japan gave us all the support and the funds on time. This also enabled us to work with speed. If this could have been the case with all the local projects, as a country we cannot be experiencing delays in completion of works,” he said.
Group Village Headman Kabekere in Traditional Authority Ganya in Ntcheu envisages a literate society in his area due to the coming of the conventional secondary school.
He said the magnificent structures that include eight solar powered teacher houses, 400 seat recreational hall, and water tank will enable children in the area access to quality and relevant education.
“Despite changing the shape of my village, the school will not only enable children in my village alone access good quality education but also serve all people in TA Ganya and Ntcheu as a whole. This is the right direction in the promotion of socio-economic wellbeing of Malawians,” said Kabekere.
Head teacher for Zomba Urban Day Secondary School Rashid Khowoya challenges his students to rise above the occasion and beat other schools now that they have library and laboratories.
He said the backbone of every developed nation lies on good quality education.
Khowoya said Zomba Urban has mostly being relying on self help and with the new 600 seat hall; the school will be able to generate more income.
“This building does not only add beauty to Zomba, it also adds intellectual beauty to our students, who we believe will emerge successful and contribute positively to the country’s economic growth,” he said.
The craftsmanship and facilities that Fargo Limited has erected at these five schools gives hope that the Buy Malawi Strategy is the right path to grow Malawi’s economy.
Fargo has contributed to the country’s economic growth through construction of roads, health centres, and water facilities among other things.
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