Dredgers gobble US$ 36m Eurobond

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 12:51:27 +0000

By oscar malipenga

PARLIAMENT  heard yesterday that close to US$ 36 million from the Eurobond funds was used to procure 27 dredging equipment for use throughout the country to open areas for passenger and cargo movement on the country’s water bodies.

Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba said in a ministerial statement the money included some rehabilitation works on the existing maritime infrastructure.

Mr Mushimba, who is Patriotic Front Kankoyo Member of Parliament, explained that leading up to the 2011 general elections, the ruling party promised to open up the country via all modes of transportation including water, if they formed government.

“In fulfilling our campaign promise on water transportation, after forming government in 2012 and 2013, my ministry undertook a countrywide marine survey of canals and rivers to ascertain the status of the waterways.

“The survey revealed that most of the canals were silted, clogged with overgrown weeds and unable to support water transportation at the scale envisioned,” he said.

Mr Mushimba said other canals were just too shallow to support the navigation of passenger or cargo vessels.

He said after the findings, Government was motivated to procure 27 extra dredging equipment to add to the five in the country.

“Almost US$ 31 million from the Eurobond funds was utilized for the procurement; that also included some rehabilitation works on the existing maritime infrastructure,” mr Mushimba said.

He said 18 out of the 27 dredgers had been delivered to Government and distributed to Western (3), Luapula (4), Copperbelt (1) and Lusaka Province (2). The minister said the remaining eight were still in Government hands awaiting completion of logistics for distribution to Western (2), Luapula (2), Muchinga (1), North Western (1), Central (1) and Northern Province (1).

He said the distribution would be completed before the end of this month. A total of 2,664 km of canals had been dredged over the last three years, using the five dredgers that Government already had.

“Government is totally committed to continuing this exercise to ensure all navigable canals are dredged and maintained for water transportation purposes especially where water is the only means of transport for the people in the area,” Mr Mushimba said.



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