A multi-billion kwacha water project that the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) is implementing with funding from Kuwait Fund in Mangochi is imperative for the expansion of Mangochi town into a city, President Lazarus Chakwera has said.
President Chakwera said on Saturday, August 12, 2021 said when he made a stop over at Mangochi Boma that the project would be expedited so that people have access to safe water.
“We want to turn Mangochi into a city council and we can only achieve this if we have all the amenities such as potable water,” said Chakwera on his way to Blantyre where he presided over the 9th Annual General Assembly (AGM) for the Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) at Sun Bird Nkopola on Friday.
He added: “I passed by Nkhudzi Bay to find out where we are with the water project and I’ve been assured that the project is rolling out and it will soon make potable water accessible to some parts of Mangochi.”
The SRWB water project involves tapping water from Lake Malawi to supply it to residents of the area stretching from the Bishop’s House outside Mangochi Boma to Mtakataka Turn-off in Monkey Bay.
The project also involves installation of a reservoir tank on Nkhudzi Hill, a development that moved a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) to block the project, saying it would, among other things, destroy the World Heritage Site at Nkhudzi Hill.
The CSOs also questioned the project’s environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and the ‘conflict’ delayed the commencement of the project for months.
But President Chakwera assured people in Mangochi the project has been thoroughly scrutinised taking care of all the fears.
“I have been assured by the organisation [SRWB] that the water project will not affect the World Heritage site.
“I have asked them to expedite the works to cover for the two months we have lost due to the disagreements that were there; and this is going to happen,” explained Chakwera.
The water project is still haunted by corruption investigation and clearance for the award.
Out of fourteen bidders, these four contractors made through to the last state of the evaluations: Jiangsu Suzhong Construction Group Company Limited at US$16.3m; Alghanim/ Plem at US$14.4m; Sawa Group/Metito JV at US$21.7m; and Kuwait Dynamic Limited/Fisd JV at US$12.3 million.
The funder favoured the Alghanim/Plem JV bid which drew complaints to the Anti-Corruption Bureau after the lowest bidder was over-looked for the award.
In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of providing water for all by 2030, Malawi is implementing several high profile water supply projects despite the challenges of high level corruption in procurement and implementation by contractors.