18 January 2013

Zambia: New Initiative to Empower Zambian Road Contractors

THE Road Development Agency (RDA) and National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) have formed a Construction Finance Initiative (CFI) aimed at empowering Zambian road construction companies.

This is in line with the 20 per cent sub-contracting guidelines issued last year.

RDA director Bernard Chiwala and NRFA acting director Emmanuel Kaunda said in a joint statement yesterday that there was need to build capacity and increase the participation of local contractors.

This should be done as the Government has planned massive investment in the road sector under the 'Link Zambia 8000' programme.

Under CFI, the RDA and NRFA would spearhead the formulation of a tripartite arrangement among road sector players, participating banks and suppliers of equipment which would enable Zambian contractors to acquire the needed equipment.

The two directors said participating local companies would be expected to mobilise qualified technical professionals registered with the Engineering Institution of Zambia to supervise the construction of quality road infrastructure.

In addition, the contractors were expected to enhance their skills through the involvement of project managers who would initially assist them in implementing the road projects.

They said the preconditions in awarding contracts were critical if the Government was to get benefits from its massive investment in the road sector.

To strengthen the bargaining power for local contractors, RDA and NRFA would encourage formation of joint ventures and strategic alliances where necessary.

The two agencies would on January 24 and 26, this year hold consultative meetings with contractors, participating banks and suppliers of equipment to conclude the financing and operation modalities to upscale the implementation of the CFI concept.

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