There is a delay in connecting the Mozambique and Malawi railway line

Work to connect the railway line between Malawi and Mozambique through Nsanje and Mutarara has not yet started on the Malawian side, with nine months left to go.

The work should consist of rebuilding the railway line from Bangula to Marka, in the district of Nsanje, connecting it to Mozambique through Vila Nova da Fronteira, in the district of Mutarara, Tete province.

Mozambique has already done almost half of its 45-kilometer section from Mutarara to Vila Nova da Fronteira, while Malawi has yet to begin work on a 72-kilometer stretch.

In October last year, the Presidents of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, and Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, agreed that March 2022 would be the deadline for reconnecting the two countries by rail.

According to Radio Mozambique, the spokesman for the Malawian Head of State, Brian Banda, justifies the delay with the death of the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Sidik Mia, and assures that the project may gain speed when Lazarus Chakwera appoints the new holder of the portfolio.

Sidik Mia lost his life to Covid-19 last January 12, the day the virus also killed the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lingson Belekanyama, the Governor of the Central Bank of Malawi, Francis Perka-moyo, and the principal secretary of the Ministry of Information, Ernest Kant-chentche.

For his part, the director of Rail Services at the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Geoffrey Magwede, says the contract is being checked by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Government Contracting Unit.

Magwede specifies that the evaluation of the project was done between November and December, but Covid-19 affected its progress.

For financial reasons, the rehabilitation project was divided into two phases, the first comprising a 26-kilometer section from Marka to Nsanje, and the second with 46 kilometers to Bangula.

The Malawi government needs about 70 billion kwachas, local currency (US$88,363,773.24), to make the project viable.

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