Friday, July 12, 2024

Salima-Liongwe Project Takes Shape as Khato Mobilises state-of-the-art Plant and Machinery


The government under President Lazarus Chakwera is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring the Salima Lilongwe Water Project becomes a reality as the project’s contractor, Khato Civils, has secured $351 million (approximately K551 billion) to launch the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project. In the meantime, the contractor has assembled all necessary plant and equipment for its execution.

This progress signifies one and one thing only that the resolution of water shortages in Lilongwe is approaching. According to a project update on Khato Civils’ Facebook page, the company has already acquired a high-tech concrete batching plant and carbon steel pipes for the 120-kilometre pipeline project, with the production of the pipes currently underway.

Reads the update: “At this stage, the entire plant for the project has been mobilised, including trucks, trailers and cranes, and are ready for shipment to Malawi.”

And in an interview on Sunday, Khato Civils spokesperson Daniel Mababa confirmed that mobilisation is at an advanced stage and that there is personnel on the ground.

However, he could not say when the construction of the water supply system will commence.

In a separate interview, Ministry of Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Elias Chimulambe said the contractor is within schedule.

He said the contractor has set up a camp and cleared the site for the treatment plant.

Said Chimulambe: “The contractor was procuring materials and most of the materials have now been secured, which will see physical works progress well once construction starts.

“The contractor could not start digging trenches because people were yet to harvest their crops. If he rushes to do the treatment plant, you might find that something goes wrong. So, he wants to ensure that everything is in place.”

Regarding the project’s funding, he mentioned that the ministry is satisfied with the 30 percent provided by the government to initiate the project. Chimulambe also noted that NBS Bank plc will arrange the remaining funds, as it is the lead arranger for the project financing.

In April 2023, Parliament approved a bill allowing the government to borrow K105 billion from local banks to fund the water project awarded to the Khato Civils/South Zambezi joint venture.

President Lazarus Chakwera signed Bill No. 6 of 2024, authorizing NBS Bank plc and National Bank of Malawi plc to finance the Lake Malawi Water Supply Project.

Although the financing arrangement faced protests, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the two banks could proceed with lending the money, lifting an order by the Forum for National Development that aimed to halt the process.

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