Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Abida Sidik Mia, on Tuesday inspected a construction project dubbed “Grand Business Park” along the by-pass road in the capital Lilongwe. The project is being championed by a Chinese Investor operating under the “China—Lilongwe Grand Holding Corporation Limited” legal name.
Arriving at exactly 3 afternoon, straight from Parliament where she was attending the ongoing parliamentary session, the Deputy Minister was welcomed by the Director of Administration from the Ministry of Lands, Duncan Chione and senior officials from the Chinese Investor’s firm.
She was then treated to a presentation of the ‘impressive’ artistic impression of the project touted as ‘a shopping paradise,’ according to the Investor. Thereafter, the deputy minister inspected the buildings constructed so far.
Speaking after the inspection, the Deputy Minister said she was impressed with progress registered so far by the investor and said what she saw is somehow contrary to reports she got from members of the public that the investor is delivering something which is not in tandem with the 3D impression they provided for the project.
“I am impressed with the progress so far,” she said adding that ‘it is pleasing to note that this project will create about 6,000 jobs for Malawians once completed.”
Quizzed if she was satisfied with the progress with respect to growing complaints from some quarters of the society that the Chinese Investor was building something different from what they proposed in the approved building plans, the Deputy Minister held her fire.
“I am here on the ground and have inspected what they have done so far. They are yet to build the other beautiful structures and it will therefore be premature to conclude that they have failed.
“It’s also understandable that the construction project here has temporarily stopped due to the covid19 situation. So let us give them a benefit of doubt and let’s reserve our comment until they complete the project,” she said.
She added: “I have encouraged them to stick to the approved plan and have also told them that senior officers from the Lilongwe City Council will be continuously visiting this place to ensure adherence to the plan.”
On his part, the Investor was delighted to have the Deputy Minister visit their project site. Speaking through his aid, Sherry Wang, the General Manager of the project assured the Deputy Minister that they will stick to the plan and assured all doubting Thomases that the impressive 3D impression people see on posters and on Television is what is going to be delivered on the ground.
Some Malawians have been complaining that the Chinese Investor’s firm is giving Malawi a raw deal with its substandard building on prime land. They claim the current structures are not in tandem with what they promised to build on their paper design.
However, Malawians own Deputy Minister of Lands, Abida Sidik Mia, is of the opinion that her own fellow citizens should not rush to judge the Investor as the work is still in progress.
It will therefore be seen as to who will have the last laugh between the said concerned Malawians who have raised the timely alarm on this project or the Investor whom the Deputy Minister has backed.
The Grand Business Park project was launched in 2017. Construction works started in 2018 and the project is expected to be completed after four years from the date of commencement.