GOVERNMENT says the World Bank has pledged to finance upgrading of feeder roads and promotion of alternative energy in Eastern province at a cost of US$ 65 million in the next five years.
The projects which include the promotion of solar energy and wind generators are aimed at supporting small-scale farmers who are currently facing some challenges in their farming activities.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo said the pledge was arrived at last week in Lusaka when he met with the World Bank officials.
“The World Bank will inject US $65 million in the feeder roads and energy as part of supporting the small scale farmers. The project will run for five years in the Eastern Province,” he said.
Mr Kasolo explained that the financing of the projects would add value to the economic aspects of Eastern province.
The province has witnessed a surge in growth with the road network, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure witnessing a serious upgrade.
Mr Kasolo however, said he was not happy with the slow pace at which a Chinese contractor was building the Chipata District Hospital along the Great East Road.
He said the Government was in a hurry in putting up such infrastructure developments and would not take kindly contractors that delayed the works.
Mr Kasolo also announced that the Government would soon start the construction of a dry port at Chipata-Mchinji railway line station.
The dry port would be used for offloading and loading of heavy cargo which would be transported on the Chipata-Mchinji railway line.
He said the Chipata Airport runway would be expanded by a kilometre in order to allow big aircrafts to land.
On tourism, Mr Kasolo appealed to Zambians to promote the domestic tourism by visiting the South Luangwa National Park.
Mr Kasolo said it was sad that most of the people who were visiting the national parks were foreign tourists instead of the local ones.
Mr Kasolo said the Government was in the process of empowering the Zambia National Service (ZNS) with 50 hectares of land while state enterprise ZamCapital would get 350 hectares for development activities.