Reduction in annual budgetary allocation towards roads construction in Mzuzu City has riled the city's Mayor Councillor Brian Kondwani Nyasulu.
Nyasa Times understands that the annual budget has reduced to a meagre K550 million over the years, a situation Nyasulu described as pathetic, stressing that the amount cannot enable the council to construct even a kilometre of a road.
At least 200 kilometres of road network need to be constructed in the city of Mzuzu, according to the mayor.
Nyasulu appealed to the government to increase funding towards road construction in Mzuzu, saying good roads are key to the economic growth of the city.
"Only 70 kilometres of road network is tarred in Mzuzu. And the biggest chunk of the 70 kilometres make the M1 road, the highway and other trunk roads. Apparently, there is nothing in the townships," said Nyasulu.
"The money we are getting now is too little to construct the 200 kilometres. We have experienced this through the Matete-Luwinga bypass road where we are moving at the pace of a kilometre annually. This is unacceptable. We are asking the government to increase funding because we have already designed most of the roads in the city. If funding comes, we will start the projects immediately," he added.
The mayor further said an average of five to 15 kilometres per annum would be ideal if road network development is to be realized in Mzuzu.
According to Nyasulu, designs are already in place for more than six roads and many other road networks including bypasses such as the Dunduzu-Lusangazi bypass.
He said it would be pleasing if the focus should be actually in the townships where people live.
"There should be no problems when people are traveling. The roads are terrible at the moment. Potholes everywhere. Almost impassable. In the Zolozolo-Luwinga bypass, some parts of the road are actually no-go zones," he said.
The reduction of budgetary allocation to road construction in Mzuzu is reportedly due to the government's low collection of revenues.
But Nyasulu insists that funding for roads in Mzuzu must increase, urging the government to find other means of sourcing the money.
He suggested the government could do 'contractor financing' when flighting out tenders, saying this is very prominent in other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia 'where road networks have improved'.
Contractor financing is an arrangement where contractors finance the whole project and the government agrees to pay after construction has been completed.
"We need to move forward. Government must think outside the box to raise money. As a city, we are trying to approach our partners for support so we should be able to complement what the government would do," Nyasulu said.