Malawi has shortlisted six international consultants to conduct a feasibility study on the Shire-Zambezi waterway, a crucial project in easing transportation problems in the land locked southern African country.

The project is a brain child of late President Bingu wa Mutharika but its future got bleak after sour relations that Mutharika, a professorial but temperamental economist, had with Mozambique – a crucial partner in the implementation of the project.

“Government invited tenders both in local and international media, and only international consultants applied and we have shortlisted six,” said Mr. Sidik Mia, Malawi’s Transport and Public Infrastructure.

“Currently, government, in conjunction with the SADC secretariat and the African Development Bank-ADB, are scrutinizing the six applicants, who were shortlisted,” added the minister.

The minister expressed hope that by the end of July, one consultant will have been identified to carry out the job.

Government received a grant of US$3.5 million about K875 million for the feasibility study.

In the 2011/2012 national budget, government allocated K150 million for the study and other physical activities but Mr. Mia said the money was not utilized.

“The money was allocated to other activities in the zero-deficit budget whose resources were sourced locally,” the minister.

Just last week there were concerns that the Joyce Banda administration had abandoned the project after discovery that government allocated nothing to the project in the 2012/13 budget

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