Lilongwe, March 21: The Malawi Government and the World Bank on Tuesday signed a US$100 million (approximately K75 billion) Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project Financing Agreement for upgrading transmission and distribution of water network and sanitation services.

On December 20, 2017 the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved financing for the six year project meant to facilitate activities that are aimed at strengthening Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Lilongwe City Council (LCC) capacity in the provision of water and sanitation services in the city.

The project which is funded from the International Development Association (IDA) will benefit over half a million people in improved water services in the Capital City and surrounding areas.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe and World Bank Country Manager, Greg Toulmin signed the agreement on behalf of Malawi Government and World Bank respectively.

Gondwe thanked World Bank for the project saying it would accord the city of Lilongwe the opportunity to improve its water and sanitation services.

He said Malawi government and World Bank need to work together and come up with yet another project that would see water shortage in the city a thing of the past and the sewerage system completely improved.

The Minister appealed for maintenance of the facilities to be improved and installed in the project if the project is to realize its potential.

“We can have excellent equipment but if we do not care for them and maintain them they are nothing. Maintenance is the most important responsibility that we must have and as such we should make it a priority,” said Gondwe.

Toulmin said with the growing population in Lilongwe the city is currently facing considerable water security challenges that must be addressed to serve the needs of the city’s population and enhance economic activity.

“To address this challenge the government of Malawi through LWB and LCC has embarked on an ambitious investment programme.

“This work is needed irrespective of where future, additional water comes from. I commend Malawi government for this foresight,” said the World Bank Country Manager.

Toulmin assured of the bank’s commitment to invest in improving Malawi’s basic services and to continue to be a responsive and steadfast partner to the government and the people of Malawi.

LWB Chief Executive Officer, Alfonso Chikuni, hailed the signing of the agreement describing it as a milestone in as far as improvement of water and sanitation services in the city is concerned.

“This agreement will facilitate various reforms in the city by strengthening capacity for both LWB and LCC in the provision of water and sanitation services in Lilongwe,” he said.

LCC Chief Executive Officer, Moza Zeleza, concurred with Chikuni saying the agreement has come at a right time when the city is experiencing challenges in maintaining the sewer pipes which are old.

Apart from maintaining pipes, Zeleza said the loan would facilitate the establishment of a modern dumping site and upgrading of some markets.

In May, 2017 government asked the World Bank to finance part of the program with a focus on immediate needs such as improving the city’s water distribution network, reducing water losses and improving sanitation.

About two thirds of the project funds would be used to rehabilitate and expand the water distribution network which will include 27 kilometres of new transmission mains and associated pumping stations and storage reservoirs as well as upgrading 142 kilometres of the existing network.

Sanitation improvements in the project will include rehabilitation and expansion of sewerage network and the Kauma sewage treatment plant, installation of 5,000 new sewer connections that will benefit about 90,000 people, construction of 8,000 improved sanitation facilities benefiting about 160,000 people from poor and vulnerable households and sanitation improvements to some schools

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