8 January 2013

Zambia: Contractors Disappoint Minister

EDUCATION Deputy Minister Neverlyn Wilombe has bemoaned the lack of seriousness by some Zambian contractors to deliver quality services when awarded contracts in infrastructure development.

Professor Wilombe said for a long time, some local contractors had been failing to implement projects awarded to them by the Government.

The deputy minister is on a familiarisation tour of Eastern Province and was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba in Chipata yesterday.

He said some contractors had been failing to deliver quality services because of inadequate skills and lack of machinery.

Pro Wilombe, however, said there were local contractors that performed well.

"Contractors have an obligation to implement projects awarded to them by the Government. I am imploring the local contractors to ensure they begin to appreciate the value of time management once awarded a contract," he said.

Prof Wilombe said as a result, the Government had been recording huge losses in infrastructure development because of shoddy works.

He said it was sad that some local contractors had continued failing to execute projects when afforded an opportunity to do so.

They had been complaining in some instances that contracts were being awarded to foreign firms.

Prof Wilombe said the Government wanted to empower the local construction industry in infrastructure projects.

He cited an example of Marike Engineering Limited which was constructing Chikando Secondary School in Chipata which had taken a long time to complete the project.

Prof Wilombe said he was not happy with the slow pace at which the secondary school was being constructed.

The deputy minister said foreign contractors like Chinese-owned companies were completing construction work on time and that the Government would blacklist Zambian contractors who delivered shoddy work.

And Mr Mwamba said it was sad that some Zambian contractors were busy complaining that contracts were being awarded to foreign firms, but when given an opportunity they were failing to execute them.

Mr Mwamba said National Construction for Council which was a regulatory body should ensure that it was giving rightful contractors' certificates for construction firms.

He said some basic schools in the province should be upgraded to secondary schools.

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