Lilongwe — President Professor Peter Mutharika says a robust transport network is key to the development of Malawi.
This comes as Mutharika on Thursday launched the Malawi National Transport Master Plan (NTMP) aimed at guiding the development of the transport sector to be implemented from 2017 - 2037.
The plan which was developed with funding from the World Bank provides a framework for delivering sustainable interventions on multi-mode transport network across Malawi.
Also, it details how Malawi will develop all areas of road network, civil aviation, railway and water transport and the infrastructures needed.
Mutharika said if Malawi is to evolve into a middle income economy, there is need to put proper systems in place.
"I want this country to have an organized transport system. That is why in 2016 I commissioned the formation of the Malawi National Transport Master Plan.
"The master plan will ensure coordination of the infrastructure projects which we have started implementing in the country," said Mutharika.
Some of the infrastructures proposed are construction of airports in Mangochi and Mzuzu, construction and improving existing ports, construction of an expressway between Limbe and Blantyre.
Also, it requests the introduction of mass transportation to reduce congestion, extension of the railway network to Tanzania and modernized airports for big foreign airlines to be landing.
"I want to modernize our cities by introducing a new system of transportation because our goal is to reduce congestion.
"With this master plan, we will see more dual carriage highways, more flyovers, continuation of constructing by-pass roads and construction of modern state-of- the- art roads.
"The railway lines connecting to the ports will also reduce the costs of transportation on goods, thereby making goods cheaper," said Mutharika.
The president said his commitment to developing the country has seen numerous construction works never experienced before in the northern, central, eastern and southern parts of the country.
"The empty noise that some are making that we are doing more ground breaking works than construction is completely false as every project I have done a ground breaking ceremony for is under construction.
"But we have to know that development is a continuous process and it does not happen in a single day," said Mutharika.
The president said developments contained in the NTMP have been distributed to cater for all parts of the country.
But, Mutharika said there is need for coordinated efforts if this is to work.
"Let us work together and be serious about developing this country. Let us get out of the negating thinking that we cannot achieve which is something that brings down this country.
"Let me also warn all local and foreign contractors to take us seriously. Stop stealing from this country and stop doing sub-standard work... Anyone caught doing any fraudulent activities will be banned from working in this country," warned Mutharika.
World Bank country manager Greg Toulmin speaking earlier said the NTMP marks a milestone in the transport sector of Malawi.
He said a successful transport sector is an introductory element for the foundation of a sound economy.
Toulmin said one challenge Malawi faces is that costs of transportation are among the highest in the region but said it was pleasing to note that the NTMP provides plans to tackle just that.