BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Khato Civils, whose owner is Simbi Phiri a close friend to Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera, has attributed the delay to kickstart the multi-billion kwacha Salima-Water Project to the Ministry of Finance’s delay to sign a loan guarantee with the financiers the company has identified.
The South Africa based company’s chief executive officer Mungozi Munyani was speaking during a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change.
Speaking via video from Johannesburg, he said Khato submitted the designs and all the required documentation in August this year.
“We are ready to roll out the project. Our only challenge is that the Ministry of Finance has not signed the loan guarantee,” he said.
The Salima-Water project stalled during the regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as it was alleged that the owner of the company Simbi Phiri was bankrolling the current ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) political campaigns.
During an interview, Simbi Phiri faulted DPP government for its lack of seriousness and non-compliance on the contractual obligations and warned that it cannot just come out of it without any consequences.
The Khatho chairperson viewed the project as a national one with millions of dollars invested involving 142 engineers who came to Malawi for two and a half years conducting surveys.
He further personally attacked the then Minister of Finance, Joseph Mwanamveka, for being behind the government’s delay to give his company a go ahead to kickstart the project.
“There is no way of getting out of this project without paying because we’ve already spent money there is no chance.
“It’s not going to happen; there is no way. Mwanamvekha should know he can’t run away from it the country has to pay,” charged Simbi
The project also faced a stumbling block from Malawi Law Society (MLS) which applied for an order in court to stop the company from starting the works before an Environment Impact Assessment—EAI—but the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the company.
Soon after taking over power from the DPP, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo, made a commitment to revisit some of the multi-billion water project having alarmed with the growing demand for portable water in the Capital City.
Tembo disclosed that government would initiate discussions with concerned stakeholders with the aim of seeing that the project materialized.
She bemoaned citizen’s lack of access to clean potable water hence the need to revamp the multimillion dollar project.
“There’s going to be more people needing this water and if we call ourselves a developed country people have to have access to safe clean water
“And so there is other projects that are looking at you’ve heard of the Salima-Lilongwe Waterworks Project and the Diamphwe projects these are projects that are looking ahead planning ahead for the eventual growth of our population.
”We will initiate the discussions between Lilongwe Water Board and Khato Civils. We need that project,” explained Tembo.
The Lilongwe Water Board are the owners of the Lilongwe-Salima Water Project, one of the biggest in the country that is expected to supply water to the capital Lilongwe and surrounding areas.