Malawi: Roads Authority for Local Company Empowerment

22 September 2021

Roads Authority (RA) has said the country can do better if local construction companies were entrusted to carry projects which have for long been monopolized by foreign construction companies.

Roads Authority's Chairperson, Joe Ching'ani, made these remarks on Monday in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana).

"Malawian construction entities should have a major share in the national cake in as far as the construction industry is concerned, because you are sure they will employ Malawians."

"Not only if you accord construction business to local firms, you are sure of having a widened tax base and assured that they will not externalize foreign exchange," he said.

Ching'ani said that Malawi could close the widened gap between the rich and the poor, creating a balance middle class in the process.

"The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider because we are giving construction business to foreign construction firms," he added.

Ching'ani said that there are three key issues that have proved to be stumbling blocks in the executions of duties of RA.

"Vetting, trust on foreign firms and the Integrated Financial and Management Information System (IFMIS) have for long been the giant challenges which as a country must address for its national development," the Board Chair explained.

He said that IFMIS has for long led to the stagnation of many flagship road projects which could cushion economic challenges and reduce some of the road accidents.

"Indeed because of IFMIS, some contractors take three months on the construction site before any penny is given to them."

"How can they pay workers and where can they get money to buy construction materials? Can a layman understand how IFMIS works and the misery it has caused in the construction industry?" he asked.

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