Blantyre — Phase II of the construction works for Lunzu Market will start mid - next year, Oliver Schetter, team leader for AHT Consultancy firm has confirmed.
During a meeting on Wednesday with Blantyre District Council, Schetter, in the company of a team from Local Development Fund (LDF) said the firm would soon start the process of tendering and identifying a contractor to finish construction of the second and last part of the market.
"Our visit today was aimed at assessing the work that was already done in the first phase and look at what is remaining to be done in the next phase. We are ready to kick-start the construction works," Schetter said.
However, Schetter noted that the process may take a bit of time with a possibility of reaching the second quarter of the year in view of the fact that the tendering processes would have to be restarted to include international contractors.
"We will try as much as possible to fast - track the processes but people should be confident that come July next year, a contractor will be on the ground," Schetter assured.
A total of K1.1 billion was allocated for Lunzu Market and only K308 million was used in the first phase. The market which will be modern above all other markets in the country will have about six shades, a slaughtering house, refuse bank, modern toilets, revenue collector's office, kiosks, water reservoir, shops and a car park.
In the first phase, 28 shops, restaurants, three shades, slaughtering house, refuse bank, one toilet and a revenue collector's house were constructed.
Schetter, therefore, said a bigger part of the project was already done in the first phase and hoped that come 2019, the market should be completed and in operation.
"We will not have new designs but a few changes will be made especially on spaces within the shades so that a good number of vendors can be accommodated," he pointed out.
District Commissioner for Blantyre, Bennet Nkasala said the council was greatly pleased to hear that the much awaited phase two of Lunzu Market construction works would start next year, noting that people of Lunzu have waited for so long and that the news about the second phase was exciting.
"As DC for Blantyre, I am grateful to LDF, the consultants and financiers to have our market completed. We had no hope but now, we can celebrate because we have been assured of the construction works that will commence soon and vendors will have to move out of the sun and occupy the new structures," said Nkasala.
The DC said once completed, the market would improve the council's generation of local revenue since it would be easier for revenue collectors to visit each and every trader under one roof in contrast to the current situation where they are scattered.
Nkasala added that the market would also contribute to the security of traders and offer a conducive environment for doing business besides changing the landscape of the district.
"The market is of great importance to the council. It will add up to the many multimillion kwacha properties that the council has," he said.
Tawanda Tambula, Chairpeson for Blantyre District Council concurred with the DC that Lunzu Market was an economic hub for the council and that the facelift would increase its revenue collection base.
"Completion of the market will enable more people especially vendors to ply their businesses in clean, protected environment and more secure shades. We will play our role to ensure the project is a success," Tambula said.
Clemence Masilika, Chairman of Lunzu Vendors said although it looked too far for the project to be completed and handed over to the business community in the area, the news about the start of the second phase was encouraging.
Masilika said the new market would reduce the damage to property that they were currently subjected to, saying: "We are doing our businesses in the rain, sun and in dusty places, conditions which cause a lot of damage to our goods. The construction of the new market would significantly reduce the loss that vendors were incurring."
Government of Germany through the Kreditanstal Fur Widerau Fbau (KFW) is supporting the construction of the market through Local Development Fund's (LDF) urban window.