19 June 2018

Malawi: Financing for Salima-Lilongwe Water Project Not Ready, Says Malawi Finance Minister

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has responded to calls from opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Budget and Finance Committee in Parliament on why the Salima-Lilongwe water project has no funding proposals in the 2018/19 budget, saying government is yet to identify funds.

The Salima-Lilongwe water project - whose contract was given to Khato Civils Limited that unveiled the multibillion Kwacha project in 2016 - had no funding allocated to it in the financial plan for 2018/19 being discussed in Parliament.

"The 2018/19 annual budget , Me Speaker Sit, is also silent regarding the future of this water project. Even the country's current Public Services Investment Charter does not include Salima-Lilongwe Water Project," said MCP spokesperson on finance Kusamba Dzonzi.

But Gondwe said the financing committee was taking time to ensure due diligence was done.

"Once this is done, we will seek the necessary waivers from the International Monetray Fund," he said.

Khato Civils, is a construction and engineering company headquartered in South Africa and owned by a billionaire Simbi Phiri businessman whose father is from Malawi,

The company already unveiled to the media multi-million kwacha machinery for the construction of the pipeline from Lake Malawi in Salima to Lilongwe to ease water problems in Lilongwe, disclosing that $13 million (K9.8 billion) had already been invested in the project.

President Peter Mutharika is on record to have hit at development partners for allegedly interfering in the project's implementation.

But Mutharika did not name the development partners allegedly pushing for the halting of the project whose setbacks have included lack of an environmental and social impact assessment (Esia) and feasibility study before the contract was awarded to Khato Civils Limited.

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