President Edgar Lungu says government will commence the construction of the USD 2.3 Billion Chipata-Petauke- Serenje Railway line in May 2017.
The Head of State said this in Chipata District during the N’cwala Traditional ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people at Mtenguleni. [See Photo Gallery]
President Lungu said economic and social infrastructure development is a catalyst for Zambia’s transformation to a developed country.
“My administration remains firmly committed to rapidly develop our infrastructure so that we make Zambia a hub in information communication technology, power generation and distribution, tourism and transport among others” President Lungu said
The Head of State said the project is expected to be completed in four years and it will create more than 8,000 jobs.
“I expect that all government departments involved in this project to adhere to the timetable to start construction not later than may 2017. Government has full confidence in the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation which has been awarded this 388.8 kilometre railway line from Chipata through Petauke in Eastern Province to Serenje in Central Province” President Lungu stated.
President Lungu said the railway line will enhance international trade through the Nacala development corridor thereby providing direct economic stimulus in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
He said the railway line would link Zambia’s main rail network with the Malawian line through Chipata-Mchinji railway line. This will provide the shortest route of 1500 kilometres to the sea from Kapiri-Mposhi.
At the same ceremony, President Lungu emphasised that culture and heritage is a national asset and the cornerstone of the nation’s identity and for centuries, the Zambian people depended upon traditions to teach values and morals to the younger generation.
He added that Zambians must not be afraid of who they are, but be proud and leverage the special cultural diversities for the greater good and development of the people.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Limited is expected to benefit from the construction of the railway line as the line connectivity will provide reliable and cost effective bulk transportation to the mining, energy, agricultural sectors, etc among Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and the region at large.
The line will provide a link from mining, agricultural and industrial production centers with distant markets as well as a link for transportation of mining inputs, agricultural inputs and industrial raw materials.
The line will also see a reduction in the transportation costs for the customers as this route is the shortest to the sea port.
And Zambia Railways Limited participated at this year’s N’cwala traditional ceremony which was held under the theme “Unity and Tolerance”
Zambia Railways Limited reaffirmed its commitment in supporting the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage.
Speaking after the presentation of gifts to the Paramount Chief Mpezeni, ZRL Managing Director Christopher Musonda said the company’s participation to traditional ceremonies across the country is an indication that it values the traditions and cultural values and norms.
And the N’cwala traditional ceremony National Chairperson, Brighton Ngoma speaking on behalf of Chief Mpezeni said the Eastern Province has seen developmental programmes from infrastructure, agriculture and other economic sectors.
Chief Mpezeni was happy to announce that the province has seen a reduction in the child marriages cases as compared to the previous years.
He attributed this to the sensitisation and educational programmes been carried out by different stakeholders in the province to educate the people on the ill vice.