The released amount is part of the US$262 million DBSA has loaned the agency for works on five priority roads namely, Chipata-Lundazi,Kalulushi-Lufwanyama, Kabompo-Chavuma, Mumbwa-Landless Corner and Senanga-Sesheke, three of which form part of the Trans African Highways route running from Cape Town to the DRC’s Katanga Province and beyond.
NRFA spokesperson, Alphonsius Hamachila said in a Press release yesterday that by developing the road infrastructure in Zambia, areas of high economic potential normally out of reach would become accessible and attract potential investors in agriculture, mining, tourism as well as unlock other opportunities for industrial developments.
The road projects being financed under the DBSA loan agreement link up parts of Eastern, Western, North-Western and Southern Zambia to the Western side of the North -South corridor hence opening up more economic trade routes with Angola, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, SouthAfrica, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
He said in Western Province, the road project under construction was the 221-km Senanga-Sesheke Road with a contract sum of K780billion.
This road project forms a vital link in respect of shortening the distance between Lubumbashi and Walvis Bay via Solwezi, Mongu and Katima Mulilo.
Mr Hamachila said in North-Western Province, the road project being funded under the DBSA loan is the 239 km of the Kabompo-Chavuma Road at an estimated cost of K290 billion.
He said in Central Province, the selected road project is the 115km stretch of the Mumbwa-Landless Corner which is being upgraded to a paved road at a cost of about K180 billion.
On the Copperbelt Province, the road project to be paved is the 60km of the Kalulushi-Lufwanyama Road (yet to be contracted) at an estimated cost of K130 billion and in Eastern Province, it is theupgrading of the remaining 91 km of the Chipata-Lundazi Roadand 15 km of selected urban roads in Lundazi at a cost of K97billion.
Zambia is a key transit country in the North -South Corridor as itsits in between borders of eight countries in the region.
And Government has launched the start of construction works foran alternative road from Maamba through Masuku to Choma which will beundertaken at the cost of K2.9 billion.
The construction works, which started on Saturday at the weekend, arebeing be undertaken by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU).
Southern Province Minister Elijah Muchima said the Maamba-Masuku-ChomaRoad would be more beneficial particularly in an event that the existing Maamba-Batoka Road developed a problem.
Speaking on Saturday afternoon during the commencement of constructionworks for the road, Mr Muchima said the new route would stimulate economic activities in various areas.
Out of the total K2.9 billion, Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) would contribute K1.8 billion.
The Zambian Government would contribute K1.1 billion towards the road project.Mr Muchima said the Government’s contribution would be through theequipment that it had made available through the RRU.
He said the Government had sourced K13 billion for bridges inSinazongwe District that were previously washed away by heavy rains.
Mr Muchima said the MMD Government would ensure there wasinfrastructure development in Zambia such as roads which were important to national development.He said President Rupiah Banda was ready to deliver development to thepeople in the country.
He praised MCL for partnering with the Government on the project as well as for commencing the production of coal.
Sinazongwe District Commissioner Oliver Pelete said people in the districtused to get worried whenever it was rainy season as the area used to be cut off from the rest of Zambia because of heavy rains.
Mr Pelete said each time the bridges were washed away, it was always difficult for the people of Sinazongwe District to travel and get essentials outside the district.
MCL chief executive officer Kalunga Mumba said his company was part ofthe community and that it was not taking away the resources but also giving back through its community projects.
Mr Mumba said by being part of the Masuku-Choma Road, the mine wantedto prove that it could also do the road as a responsible corporate entity.
RRU provincial engineer Edward Ntinda said Government was committed tothe project and praised the Maamba Collieries Limited for partnering with the State to construct the Masuku-Choma Road.