The construction of Chipembere Highway in Blantyre will get underway soon as the Japanese Embassy in Malawi discloses that contractor Nippo Corporation of Japan has agreed to pay costs of the delay for the execution of the second phase modernisation project of the Chipembere Highway in Blantyre.

The project was initially supposed to be completed by this coming October but stalled early this year following a dispute between the Japanese contractor and its local sub-contractor.

Speaking on Friday in Lilongwe during the signing ceremony of an amended agreement for the project with the Malawi government, Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Fujo Samukawa said Nippo Corporation had agreed to pay for the costs of the delay.

“We had a long discussion with the company in Japan and we are glad that the issues were resolved and the contractor agreed to take the responsibility of the delay,” said the ambassador.

Under the amended agreement, the project period has been extended by a year.

Samukawa said Nippo as the main contractor has undertaken to engage a new local subcontractor.

Initially, the project was budgeted at about K3.2 billion but it is not known how much the completion would need following the devaluation of the kwacha and subsequent rises in prices of diesel and other materials.

In his remarks, Finance Minister Ken Lipenga said the project delay affected economic activities in the city as the highway was a busy and strategic road in Blantyre.

He was hopeful that the project would this time around be completed in time to ensure that travelling between Blantyre city centre and Limbe returns to normality.

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