11 May 2014

Zambia: 'East Poised for Growth'

EASTERN Province is poised for increased economic activity following works to rehabilitate the Great East Road and the launch of the Mchinji railway line operations, Provincial Permanent Secretary Mulenga Chileshe has said.

Dr Chileshe said the two major projects in the province would add impetus to the pace of economic growth.

He said this in Chipata when the Road Development Agency (RDA) head of public relations Loyce Saili, leading a team of journalists on a tour of road works in the province, called on him at his office.

Dr Chileshe said that the communication sector was vital to economic growth, especially at a time when Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique were committed to increasing trade activities using the Nacala Corridor.

He urged the RDA to ensure that the road works in the province were completed on schedule.

On Friday, Government officially flagged off the first train to shuttle from Zambia via Malawi to the port of Nacala in Mozambique covering a distance of 1, 150 kilometres.

He appealed to the RDA to construct by-pass roads within Chipata to cater for heavy trucks hauling cargo from the train service, to avoid damage to township roads.

"The road projects taking place in various parts of the province will definitely boost economic activity in the area, especially with the launch of the Mchinji rail," he said.

Ms Saili said plans were underway to create a by-pass from the Central Business District (CBD) of Chipata to protect the lifespan of the roads.

She also assured that the RDA would not accept a road project with defects and reiterated calls to contractors to ensure the works were done to accepted standards.

Meanwhile, Ms Saili expressed concern over the rate of vandalism on Lundazi Bridge after a check revealed that guard rails and drainage iron sheets had been tampered with.

The six metre bridge has suffered damages as some people have ripped off vital metal supporters such as the guard rails and iron-sheets under the bridge which they use for making roofing sheets.

"The bridge is terribly compromised and can collapse anytime. This is one example of the issue of vandalism on road infrastructure. The guard rails on the bridge have been removed on one side and the other one has had the bolts removed and it will be stolen anytime," Ms Saili said.

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