East chamber of commerce implores govt. to complete Chipata/Mchinji railway project
Chipata, July 10, ZANIS……… Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry (EPCCI) Chairperson Thomas Mtonga has implored government to be proactive in completing the Chipata/Mchinji railway line project which started in the 1980’s.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIs in Chipata today, Mr Mtonga said there was need to link Tanzania, Zambian Railway (TAZARA) through Mpika and connect to Kapiri Mposhi for the line to start yielding economic results for the nation.
Mr Mtonga said the railway project would be beneficial to Eastern Province because the goods which came through Tanzania would come to Chipata through the same railway line adding that this would boost trade in the country and the region at large.
He noted that the original plan was to connect Zambia to Nacala corridor in Mozambique and that the continued delay in the completion of the Chipata/Mchinji railway line project had made the country lose out on economic opportunities because geographically, Nacala Corridors in Mozambique was the closest port which the country could take advantage of.
Mr Mtonga said there is also need a good road network to be constructed from Dinga Dinga which was along Lusaka road to the dry port to come through the hills behind the port.
He said the exporting of agro crops such as cotton; tobacco and maize would be easier for the country once the railway line became operational, thereby boosting agriculture activities in the country.
Mr Mtonga called government to move in quickly and work on the road from Dinga Dinga which would run through the hills behind the dry port because it was important to have a strong road unlike now where Kalindawaro road from town centre which passes through the township could not cope with big cargo because it was weak and was too small to contain the huge cargo.
He stated that benefits for the country were numerous such that a private company in Petauke which mines titanium ole which was used for manufacturing paint was interested in moving the ole by road for export to other countries via Nacala corridor into Mozambique.
Mr Mtonga noted that once the Chipata/Mchinji project was enhanced would integrate the whole sub region thereby increasing trade between Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia though initially it was arranged that it should run between Malawi and Zambia.
He said a stretch in Mozambique to Nacala corridor which was dilapidated would soon be worked on by a Brazilian company which mines core in Tete province hence the need to speed up the construction of the dry port and warehouse so that the country was not left out of the deal to reap from the arrangement.
He said when that was done people would be able to have lower costs of ferrying goods even from Dar es salaam to come through chipata.