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Accelerating Malawi’s Economic Growth
Roads Author­i­ty (RA) is a qua­si-gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tion estab­lished by an Act of Par­lia­ment (No. 3 of 2006). It com­pris­es of a Board and secretariat.
RA is a pub­lic insti­tu­tion, and reports to the Min­istry of Trans­port and Pub­lic works, which pro­vides pol­i­cy direc­tions and deter­mines stan­dards in the road sec­tor and pro­vides over­all super­vi­sion of RA. RA is an imple­men­ta­tion agency of the Min­istries road works, poli­cies and programmes.
3.1 Accord­ing to the Roads Author­i­ty Act of 2006, the Roads Author­i­ty Man­date is to ensure that Pub­lic roads are con­struct­ed, main­tained or reha­bil­i­tat­ed all at all times. 3.2 Advise the Min­is­ter, and where appro­pri­ate, the Min­is­ter respon­si­ble for Local Gov­ern­ment on the prepa­ra­tion and effi­cient and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the annu­al nation­al roads pro­gramme referred to in sec­tion 22 of the Roads Author­i­ty Act.
RA man­ages the fol­low­ing road works 4.1 Con­struc­tion – These are gen­er­al­ly large road works involv­ing build­ing of a new roads. This requires a lot of mon­ey and spe­cial­ist equip­ment as the work might involve earth mov­ing, rock blast­ing etc. An exam­ple is the con­struc­tion of Mal­owa – Goliati road or Karon­ga- Chi­ti­pa road. When such works are com­plet­ed, the agree­ment is that in the first year after com­ple­tion, the con­trac­tor is sup­posed to cor­rect or put right any defects that may arise on the road due to work­man­ship. This is called defects lia­bil­i­ty peri­od. 4.2 Peri­od­ic Main­te­nance – This is main­te­nance works that are occa­sion­al­ly required at inter­vals of sev­er­al years depend­ing on the orig­i­nal type of the road. Nor­mal­ly rel­a­tive­ly cost­ly, large scale works requir­ing spe­cial­ist equip­ment and skilled resources. For exam­ple when a new road is con­struct­ed as explained above, the stan­dard is it will require peri­od­ic main­te­nance after every 3 years if it is asphalt. 4.3 Rou­tine main­te­nance – Main­te­nance works required con­tin­u­ous­ly or at inter­vals dur­ing a year. For exam­ple when a new road is con­struct­ed it will require road mark­ings, main­te­nance of road furniture/signs, grass cut­ting in the sides, drainage clean­ing, cul­vert clean­ing, grad­ing etc. Rou­tine main­te­nance also involves pot­hole patching.
Roads Author­i­ty is respon­si­ble for a total of rough­ly 25,000 kms of Malawi’s total road net­work. It is respon­si­ble for all the major roads des­ig­nat­ed as Main roads, sec­ondary roads as well as Ter­tiary and Dis­trict roads. How­ev­er, accord­ing to Local Gov­ern­ment Act (1998) and Decen­tral­iza­tion Pol­i­cy (1998) the respon­si­bil­i­ty of main­tain­ing rur­al roads which are not under cen­tral gov­ern­ment is in the hands of the Local Author­i­ties. The roads under assem­blies include: dis­trict roads, town­ship roads, city roads and hous­ing estate roads .
Road works are now fund­ed by the Road Fund Admin­is­tra­tion (RFA) who are man­dat­ed to col­lect and account for all the funds intend­ed for road works in Malawi. Such funds come from fuel levy, Par­lia­men­tary Appro­pri­a­tions, Donors, and Devel­op­ment Part­ners such as Euro­pean Union, African Devel­op­ment Bank, Nordic Devel­op­ment Fund, Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment, Japan­ese Gov­ern­ment, Badea, OPEC/Kuwait fund for inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment, World Bank etc
Road con­struc­tion, main­te­nance and reha­bil­i­ta­tion require a lot of mon­ey which run into bil­lions. For exam­ple the cost of doing reha­bil­i­ta­tion is about MK30million per kilo­me­ter (the fig­ure has been tak­en from the recent reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Chidzan­ja road in Lilong­we). This fig­ure does not include shoul­ders and drainage works. If RA was to reha­bil­i­tate all roads in Lilong­we City, this would trans­late into MK3billion. Our finan­cial base for the whole coun­try for the whole year is less than that. It is clear there­fore that while we are reha­bil­i­tat­ing some key roads in Malawi, oth­er roads will require what is called rou­tine maintenance.