25 January 2013

Zambia: Govt Warns Against Shoddy Road Works

GOVERNMENT has said it will not tolerate shoddy road works and has implored contractors to ensure they put up standard road infrastructure to help accelerate national development.

Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa said Government had prioritised infrastructure development, especially construction of standard roads.

Mr Shawa said the recent launch of the Link Zambia-8000 road project was testimony that Government was committed to improving the state of roads countrywide.

He said the private sector, such as road contractors, should play a crucial role by constructing standard road infrastructure to stimulate national development.

Mr Shawa was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when he officiated at a consultative meeting on the Introduction of the Construction Finance Initiative (CFI).

"The construction of new roads is a mammoth task which Government cannot implement on its own, hence the need for private sector participation," Mr Shawa said.

He said Government would continue creating jobs for Zambians, hence the move to develop a policy of sub-contracting 20 per cent of all major contracts to Zambian construction firms.

Earlier, RDA chief executive officer Bernard Chiwala said the CFI concept was aimed at exploring alternative avenues for acquiring plant and equipment by contractors.

This would be done through a special facility promoted by RDA and the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) in collaboration with banks.

"The CFI concept will spearhead and strengthen the bargaining power of contractors in grades three to six in their acquisition of advance payment guarantees, performance guarantees or bonds, bid bonds and construction equipment," he said.

He said RDA would not condone corruption from contractors and that the National Council for Construction (NCC) would intensify retraining of contractors before commencement of road projects.

He said through the CFI concept, RDA would facilitate preparations and signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between banks and road sector agencies and also signing of bilateral MoUs between equipment suppliers and road sector agencies.

National Association for Medium and Small-Scale Contractors president Titus Ikowa said delays to release project funds in some cases resulted into contractors corrupting RDA officials.

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