Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway scaled down to US$577m
By NATION REPORTER
GOVERNMENT has scaled down structure of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriage way road construction project which was originally expected to cost around US$2 billion with all the amenities including the creation of Townships, Hotels and other highway economic infrastructures.
Government yesterday signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Avic International for the construction of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriage Way at a cost of US$577 million.
The initial structure of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriage Way had included other economic infrastructure such as Satelite Cities, three toll Plazas along the route, Road Development Agency (RDA) offices, a bypass road from Kapiri Mposhi to avoid passing through the central business district, a bridge across the Mulungushi River and three service stations along the project road as well as the construction of the Luanshya/ Masangano Bridge among others.
The MoU signed yesterday is without the above mentioned additional economic infrastructure which has seen the reduction of the total cost of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriage Way to no more than US$577 million.
Infrastructure Minister Charles Milupi claimed yesterday that had the Patriotic Front continued in government after the 2021 general elections, government was going to lose more than US$2 billion in the project because according to him, it was largely overpriced.
He said the total cost of construction of the 327 Km dual carriage way under the PPP project would be US$577 million.
Mr Milupi said this during the signing ceremony for the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway in Ndola yesterday.
And Minister of Finance and National planning, Situmbeko Musokotwane has said for the first time since independence, the country was witnessing the construction of a dual carriage way of such a magnitude at a true value of the cost.
Dr. Musokotwane said a few years ago, there was an attempt by the previous government to construct the same road but they did not succeed as it was overpriced.
He said the government did not proceed with the project because of the public uproar because the country was borrowing huge sums of money for the construction of the road.
“They wanted to borrow more than $1.2 billion for the construction of the road which was overpriced,” he said.
Dr. Musokotwane said under the PPP project the government was not going to spend not even a single penny or borrow any money for the construction of this most important economical road.
He said he was aware that the of progress would try to throw mud on the progress made by using PPP by purporting that the government would have built the roads themselves rather than using local institutions.
Dr. Musokotwane said the government was not going to lose revenue through this partnership because it would be key participants in the revenues that would be collected from the roads.
He said critics were saying that this was not a PPP project because the government was getting financing from local intuitions like NAPSA but the local institution was not financing the whole project.
Dr. Musokotwane said it was better for the money to come from inside so that when the money was being paid back everything would remain in the country.
“The interest that will be earned by NAPSA would be in turn earned by the owners of NAPSA who are the people of Zambia,” he said.
He also said the concession period of the project was 25 years split in two, three years of construction and 22 years of operations and maintenance.
Dr. Musokotwane said as the contractor has already indicated that the construction of the road would take approximately 36 months, the benefits of this road would spur development not only in this country but the southern region as a whole.