By Michael Kaluba
The government of Zambia and concessionaire, Macro-Oceans Investment Limited have penned a 25 years long concession agreement for the upgrade of the 327 kilometers Ndola-Lusaka road to dual carriageway at a cost of over $577 million.
The project, which also includes the rehabilitation of 45 kilometers of the Luanshya-Fisenge-Masangano road, is expected to accrue a further around $68 million in working capital, interests and other costs while government and the concessionaire have agreed to share revenue over the 23 year period of operation and maintenance of the road.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of the concession agreement in Ndola today, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi said this project will include Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi by-pass roads, 2 new toll plazas, 2 new weigh bridges and maintenance of the already existing weigh bridges.
Speaking earlier, MOIC-LN Consortium Limited Senior Consultant Lei Yingji hopes the financial negotiations for the project can be concluded within 6 months for the company to begin the 3 years construction period and has assured of high quality works on the project.
Meanwhile, Finance and National Planning Development Minister Situmbeko Musoktwane has warned that threats to the profitability of the road through increased maintenance costs during the concession period may result in increased toll fees especially that government is not spending or borrowing any money for the project.
And Transport and Logistics Minister Frank Tayali disclosed that the Ndola-Lusaka road already carries over 10,000 vehicles daily and is expected to carry more traffic as both the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC- and Zambia endeavor to ramp up annual copper production by 1 million and 3 million tons respectively.
CREDIT: PHOENIX NEWS