Editor's Comment

Mufulira-Ndola road long over due

AS PART of his tour of duty to the Copperbelt Province, President Lungu yesterday commissioned the reconstruction works of the

Mufulira-Ndola road.
The reconstruction of the Mufulira-Ndola road is not only welcome but long overdue considering the extent to which this important artery has deteriorated due to many years of neglect. This has been compounded by the natural effects of rainy seasons.
For many years, residents of Mufulira in particular have been lamenting the bad state of the road.
For instance, many sections of the road have either been washed away or developed huge potholes, some the size of craters, due to lack of routine maintenance and soil erosion during successive rainy seasons.
Due to the deplorable state of the road, travel between Ndola and Mufulira is a nightmare for travellers as it takes unnecessarily long to cover the estimated 70km distance.
When the road was in tip-top condition, travel between Ndola and Mufulira would take less than 40 minutes but now it takes three to four hours because the road is virtually impassable.
As a result, Mufulira residents travelling to Ndola are forced to use an alternative but costly route by first going to Kitwe and then proceed to Ndola. This does not make economic sense especially that there is a shorter route.
The evasion of the Ndola-Mufulira route by travellers has subsequently led to congestion on the Kitwe- Ndola dual carriageway, which is now seen as the only alternative.
As a country, we cannot afford to leave the Mufulira-Ndola road in a deplorable state considering its economic value.
Mufulira is one of Zambia’s mining towns endowed with mineral resources such as copper-ore. It is indisputable good road infrastructure is key to boosting mining activities as well attracting investors to the area. This is because good road infrastructure is needed to transport the copper-ores and other minerals from the place of production to the market place.
Apart from mining, farming is also another major economic activity in Mufulira. It is indisputable that farmers need good roads to deliver inputs to their farms and produce to the market place.
However, in the current state, it is difficult for farmers in Mufulira to transport their produce to Ndola and beyond.
This in turn has potential to discourage many Mufulira residents from taking up farming as a business and a major source of income due to difficulties in accessing the market.
At a time when the country is positioning itself as a food basket for the region, there is need to encourage more people to engage in farming, and access to markets through good roads is not only a necessity but an incentive.
The Mufulira-Ndola road, which passes near Sakania, the Zambia- Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border post, 30km north of Ndola also provides the shortest route to Luapula Province.
We are happy that Government has acted swiftly to ensure that this important link is restored.
We have no doubt the reconstruction of the Mufulira Ndola road will go a long way in boosting economic activities in Mufulira and Ndola.
It is, however, our hope that the contractor assigned to work on the road will ensure quality works for durability.
It is also our hope that the construction works will be concluded within the stipulated time-frame.
Once the road is constructed, we expect the relevant road agencies to ensure maintenance to prevent the infrastructure from deteriorating to unacceptable levels.
We are aware that the road has not received due attention since the 1980s and now Government has to spend more money by reconstructing it.
This is why it is said prevention is better than cure.

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