By Synd Kalimbuka
Government, through Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has provided K1 billion for the construction of Thondwe Modern Bus Depot and Songani Modern Market in Zomba District.
The two projects are expected to raise the social economic status of Zomba District Council and increase revenue for the council.
During the launch of the two projects, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Phiri urged contractors for the two sites to ensure communities benefit through employment to improve their economic status.
Phiri said each contractor should only bring skilled personnel for the work, while the rest of the workforce should come from the surrounding community.
However, Phiri assured people that the projects will reduce the rate of migration from rural areas to urban areas in pursuit of various economic opportunities.
“As one way to reduce migration of people from rural areas, government is geared to modernize rural areas with these modern structures,” said Phiri.
“Government understands that politics is equal to development; hence, coming up with the modern market structures.
“President Mutharika understands that politics is about development, that is why he pushes for development to improve lives of Malawians, especially those in rural areas,” he added.
Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta, a beneficiary of Songani Market, hailed government for the timely development, saying it was one of the promises President Mutharika made in the 2019 campaign trail.
Kwelepeta, who is also Deputy Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, said Songani was among the oldest and biggest markets in the country which required modern facilities.
Representing communities, Gift Madinga from Mkwapatira Village in Traditional Authority Mlumbe where government will construct Thondwe Bus Depot, said communities would benefit from the structures through employment.
“We expect to benefit from this project because Honourable Phiri has assured us that we are going to secure jobs,” Madinga said.
Once completed, Thondwe Bus Depot will consume K100 million while Songani market will cost government K823 million.
Among others, Songani Market will have structures such as a fence, five shelters, 40 shops, five sheds, toilets, three slaughter houses and butcheries.