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Parliament to revamp water services

Written by  Ronald Amos

The Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructure has pledged support to revamping water transport services in the country currently operated by Mota Engil under the banner Malawi Shipping Company.

A vessel docks at Monkeybay A vessel docks at Monkeybay

This was disclosed in Mangochi when members of the committee toured Monkey Bay Port.

Briefing members of the committee after a water cruise in MV Chilembwe Liaison Manager for Malawi Shipping Company Austin Msowoya said since Mota Engil took over the concessionaire to run water transport services in the country in 2010 it is striving to meet the conditions set by government.

“Some of the conditions include rehabilitating Illala which was old, introduce other two vessels to support tourism of which the new MV Chilembwe is one of them, to rehabilitate all other vessels within three years and to construct state of the art hotel in Mangochi along Lake Malawi,” Msowoya said.

However he requested members of the committee to help Malawi Shipping Company overcome some of the challenges it is facing such as, liaising with government to completely waiver duty on all spare parts and accessories of marine vessels.

On this note Msowoya told the committee that although government removed tax on such items but they are required to pay tax first and then claim a development he said mostly the money is hardly paid back.

Malawi Shipping Company also pleaded with the committee to discuss with relevant authorities to ensure that the levy on fuel which the company pays goes to lake transport services unlike now as the money is used on road rehabilitation and maintenance.

Msowoya also called on government, which he described as a partner to Malawi Shipping Company, to fulfill its obligation by among other things provide resources as per the conditions of agreement between the two parties.

Chairperson for the committee Victor Mbewe said as Members of Parliament they would raise the issues in the August House for further debate and in turn enhance operations of the sole shipping company.

Mbewe observed that water transport has potential to turn around the country’s economy to greater heights.

Mbewe also urged players in both public and private sectors to utilize the available services in the lake as one way of promoting the company.

According to Austin Msowoya Malawi Shipping Company is investing and working tirelessly for the country to have a revamped water transport in 10 years to come.

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