Government says it will continue with its quest to unlock the economic potential of the country and transform its socio-economic landscape through infrastructure development.
President Edgar Lungu stated that the infrastructure development programme is part of government’s effort to transform the face of Zambia through urban revitalization.
Speaking during the official opening and commissioning of the Munali flyover Bridge, President Lungu said infrastructure development was part of government agenda and its goal to increase economic prospects for all Zambians without leaving anyone behind.
He stressed that this agenda places particular focus on the improvement of infrastructure across the country, including, the development of urban and feeder roads.
The Head of State noted that the provision of adequate and quality roads is deemed to promote mobility to the citizens and further enhance productivity, as well as, the standard of living for all.
The President is aware of the pain and stress of road users caught up in traffic congestion and the negative impact it has on productivity and economic growth.
He stated that road development improves overall accessibility and reduces transportation costs, thus, citizens will have improved access to goods and services.
“We have made huge strides in infrastructural development, yet this is only the beginning. As we transform the face of Lusaka, our country’s capital city and major economic hub, I wish to assure you that we will not leave the rest of our towns, whether urban or rural, behind,” President Lungu assured the nation.
The Head of State implored the team of engineers working on the Lusaka decongestion project, under the Ministry of Local government, to speed up the works with good workmanship so that it is completed soon.
He indicated that such projects are major contributors to the socio-economic development of the country, therefore, needs to be expedited and concluded to allow for more of similar projects to be developed in other parts of our country.
President Lungu reminded that development calls for focus, commitment and consistency in the implementation of strategies aimed at fostering soco-economic progress.
He disclosed that through the project, families have been enabled to earn an income and sustain their lives.
“My government, through the Lusaka decongest project, has provided entrepreneurial opportunities for various Zambian companies which have been sub-contracted by the main contractor, Afcons, to provide various services. This opportunity allows for the growth and development of small and medium sized companies which will now acquire the required skills to undertake major projects. This is indeed one way of diversifying our economy while ensuring job creation,” he noted.
President Lungu commended road users in Lusaka, the business community and the public at large for exhibiting patience, compliance and cooperation during the ongoing construction process.
India’s High Commissioner to Zambia, Ngulkhan Gangte noted that the project was being undertaken under challenging times when the world is grappling with COVID-19, hence should be considered prominent.
Mr Gangte said the project will set a benchmark for quality works because it has been constructed to the expectation of government and ahead of schedule.
He further congratulated other stakeholders involved in the construction and those who facilitated for the smooth implementation of the Lusaka City Decongestion project.
“AFcons deserves a hand of applause for the training and skills brought to Zambia along with this professional implementation,” High Commissioner Gangte indicated.
He noted that India will continue to enhance such kind of corporations and support to meet the aspirations of the people of Zambia.
The High Commissioner stated that India has not only supported Zambia in infrastructure development but also in the health sector through resources and human resources required to control the pandemic.
He was optimistic that the Lusaka City Decongestion project will address the traffic challenges as well as provide economic benefits many Zambians towards achieving the vision 2030 agenda.
And Minister of Local Government Charles Banda revealed the overall project progress made was at 95 percent completion.
Dr. Banda explained that the Munali Flyover Bridge was the third flyover bridge out of the four under the Lusaka city decongestion project.
Dr. Banda listed the Makeni flyover bridge that was officially opened to the public in August 2020, shortly thereafter, in October, 2020, the Arcades flyover bridge was officially commissioned and now the commissioning of the Munali flyover bridge.
The Minister mentioned that the two flyover bridges previously opened have greatly reduced the travel time and improved safety for road users.
He added that the Munali roundabout will further improve the traffic situation along the great east road seeing that it has been a major traffic bottleneck along the Great East road.
“The overall project progress has been remarkable. The project is currently at 95% completion with 93 kilometres of road network paved up to final asphalt layer. The project is expected to be completed ahead of schedule by June 2021,” Dr. Banda indicated.
He acknowledged President Lungu’s support in the implementation of the Lusaka City Decongestion project that has led to smooth completion.