Likoma — Construction of Likoma Community Technical College is expected to start soon after it was halted following a wrangle between the Anglican Church and the district council over piece of land where construction works had started.
Minister of Labour, Youth and Sports Francis Kasaila Monday visited the island to appreciate a new site which the council has identified for the community college.
"I want to assure the people of Likoma that the construction of this community technical college will go on. "We have appreciated the new site which is situated in council's own piece of land and, therefore, I don't expect any more delays. We will make everything possible so that this project takes off and sees completion within reasonable time," he pointed out.
In September 2017, the Anglican Church stopped construction works arguing it had its own plans for the site where government started building the community technical college.
The wrangle brought fears to the island population as to whether the project would continue as it was apparent that a new site was required and that project's time frame had already advanced and some resources wasted on the foundation.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, who accompanied the minister, said he was pleased to visit the island and see the new project site.
"The delay was disturbing as we are running out of time. This project was supposed to be completed in March. But I'm happy to see that the council has secured own land which will accommodate the technical college," he explained.
"As EU, we are very much interested in investing in the youth. And one way to do this is through these community technical colleges," Gerrmman added.
Likoma District Commissioner Charles Mwawembe said youths need to be empowered with different skills for the country to realize meaningful development.
He said the community technical college would enable many youths on the island to acquire such skills.
"Previously, very few youths would access vocational training at the mainland districts which, for Likoma, was even costly," Mwawembe said.
Traditional Authority (TA) Mkumpha III hailed government and the EU for continued support despite the land dispute.
"With what happened at the former site I had feared the worst. I though government would take the project to another district and that youths of Likoma and Chizumulu islands were going to miss out on this opportunity," he viewed.