Monday, February 26, 2024
BusinessFeature

Unused Mzuzu Airport feasibility grant irks Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola

Simplex Chithyola, Malawi

OPEC Fund for International Development (Ofid) says it is dismayed with Malawi Government failure to utilize US$350000 grant for the Technical and Economic Feasibility study for the new Mzuzu Airport.

Speaking when he met the new Malawi Minister of Finance on the sidelines of this year’s World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco on Friday Ofid Assistant Director General for Public Sector Operations Department, Fuad Albassam said government is failing to recruit a consultant for the project two years after signing the programme grant.

“The project preparation grant is intended to finance the preparation of the feasibility study for the construction of a new airport for Mzuzu City. The overall cost of the feasibility study is US$800000 with Ofid and the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) each contributing US$350000 towards the study and the Government of Malawi contributing US$ 100000.

“It was expected to result in a potential US$200 million (based on preliminary estimates) investment that BADEA and the Ofid could subsequently finance with the Government and other partners but two years down the line there has been no movement,” he said.

He said government was not serious on the matter and could potentially lose the programme grant if it continues not showing interest to identify and recruit a consultant.

In his response Malawi new Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola-Banda said it is sad that for over two years government has failed to recruit a consultant to kick-start the project.

“Mzuzu City deserves a modern international airport to facilitate aviation services in the north but how could we not as a country not utilize the programme grant which was approved and signed in 2021. We need to move with speed and be patriotic to help turn around the economy and spearhead development,” he said.

The minister then committed to take the matter seriously and provide necessary policy direction to ensure that the process starts as soon as possible to make sure Malawi gets and utilize resources prudently.

 

 

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