Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott has directed the contractor working on the US$259.3 Kazungula Bridge to expedite the process since the projecthas been on the drawing board for more than 10 years.
Dr Scott appealed to the contractor, Daewoo Engineering and Construction, including the supervising engineers, to ensure that the project was delivered within the planned timeframe and cost.
Dr Scott was speaking yesterday during the ground-breaking ceremony of the bridge where he, flanked by his Botswana counterpart Ponatshego Kedikilwe, officiated at the ceremony on the Botswana side of the Kazungula border.
The project will be undertaken by the governments of Zambia and Botswana with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Dr Scott said the project would create jobs, facilitate movement of products within the region, including agricultural inputs and mining equipment, and increase opportunities for intra and regional trade activities.
He also said the project would reduce the transit time from 36 hours to two hours and reduce transportation costs and the cost of doing business in general and, ultimately, increase revenue for the two countries. “The two peoples of Botswana and Zambia have waited for this project for this long and some imagined that this day would come in their life-time. The two governments are equally delighted that the long-awaited project is finally taking off today,” Dr Scott said.
He said the Kazungula route had become increasingly popular to transporters shipping freight between the major ports of South Africa to and from Lusaka, the mining towns of northern Zambia and the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Dr Scott said the current border facilities on both sides of Botswana and Zambia were inadequate as only 30 trucks could be ferried in each direction in a day.
Dr Kedikilwe urged the ministries of Transport in the two countries to remain diligent in their work and guard against unnecessary cost escalations during construction.
He also urged the two ministries to exercise professionalism to avoid delays and unnecessary litigations, saying people’s expectations on the project were very high.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) resident representative Atsushi Nakagawa congratulated the governments of Zambia and Botswana for implementing the Kazungula Bridge project.
Africa, Development Bank (AfDB) resident representative for Malawi Andrew Mwaba said the project was a major milestone in addressing trade bottlenecks between the two countries. Dr Mwaba said his bank, which is celebrating 50 years this year, was repositioning itself to respond to the needs and transformation of the continent.
Botswana Transport and Communications Minister Nonofo Molefhi said the bridge would join Zambia and Botswana in facilitating the movement of goods and people of the SADC region.
Zambia’s Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said Kazungula Bridge was one of the major projects to be undertaken in Zambia under the Patriotic front Government.
Souce: Finish Kazungula Bridge - Scott. The Times, Zambia , (13/09/14)