Lilongwe — Investors and stakeholders in tourism industry have applauded government for its plans to construct the Mangochi/Monkey-Bay to Cape Maclear road, saying the project will attract investors and help heighten the tourism sector, regarded as one of the major forex earner for the country.
Jumbo Safaris Manager Estobel Richard commended the government for its plans to construct the road which he said has been in bad condition for some time despite playing a very important role of transporting tourists to Lake Malawi's most beautiful scenery and the Lake Malawi National Park.
The National Roads Authority will construct the road.
Richard said investors were failing to start new tourism business in the area because of the bad condition of the road and said the construction of the road will attract more tourists and boost the economy because tourists bring forex into the country. "Government has done a commendable job of starting implementation phases of the road, it is a welcome idea," said Richard.
NRA Public Relations Manager Portia Kajanga said rehabilitation of Mangochi-Monkey Bay road to Cape Maclear will be carried out this year, under the Lakeshore Road Infrastructure Programme to be funded by European Union (EU).
Kajanga said when completed, the road will not only provide better access to markets and social amenities to people in the area but will also greatly boost tourism due to its strategic location.
She said the design consultant; a venture of GAUFF/LOUDO has already reviewed the designs and is finalizing preparation of the tender documents.
She, however, could not be drawn to comment as to how much the project will cost saying that can only be said after scrutinising and awarding of tenders. "According to a tentative timetable that has been put up, the actual road works are expected to commence sometime in August this year and will run up to December 2007. Rehabilitation works will begin from about 1.5 Km before Mangochi Boma, up to Monkey Bay, a total of 64 kilometres," she said.
Kajanga said tenders for Civil Works for the 18 kilometres Cape Maclear Spur and Nakundu Bridge on the Monkey Bay road are being prepared separately but will be launched together with those of the main road.
Minister of Information and Tourism Patricia Kaliati said the construction of the road will be a milestone on the uplifting of tourism, development and economy of the country.
Some of the projects to be carried out by NRA this year, according to Kajanga, include Bunda Mitundu road, Bridges between Balaka and Salima, routine maintenances, normal road maintenances, construction of selected roads in the cities, Dedza customs, Likuni road, and Mzimba spur.