Thursday, October 04, 2007

(DAILY MAIL) State plans tenders for locals

State plans tenders for locals

MINISTER of Finance and National Planning, Ng’andu Magande, says Government will amend tender procedures to provide for certain contracts to be exclusively reserved for Zambians in a bid to empower citizens. Mr Magande said this in Kitwe yesterday when he toured roads that were constructed under the accelerated urban road rehabilitation programme (AURRP).

The minister took a JJ Lowe contractor to task after observing that some roads were poorly done. Mr Magande, in the company of Kitwe town Clerk, Ali Simwinga, was disappointed with work done on Nationalist Road, among others. He wondered why the contractor, who was expected to finish working on the road by September 31, was still dragging on with the same work.

“We want these projects to be implemented. That is why sometimes I would rather the local people were empowered to be able to do these jobs because they will do a good job because this is their country,” he said.

He said there were a lot of problems in tender procedures and the State would seek to amend them. “Why should one contractor be given three roads to work on when they do not even have equipment?” he asked.

The minister said this when a JJ Lowe supervisor, a Mr Hussein explained that the only grader they were using to work on the roads had broken down. Mr Hussein said it would take two weeks to work on the grader, as the engine had been sent to Lusaka to be worked on. Mr Magande ordered the contractor to hire equipment from Kitwe City Council to finish the job. “I’m not happy with your work and equipment. Government spends a lot of money on these roads and we expect a good job,” he said.

Mr Simwinga said the reason why some roads were poorly done was because both contractors and consultants were from the same company, a situation he said was unethical. The minister was also disappointed with the work done on some township roads in Kalulushi. He said the industrial road that JJ Lowe worked on barely two weeks ago was cracking. “What will happen to these roads when the rains come?”

Kalulushi Municipal Council director of engineering services, Benny Chiyesu, said engineers from Lusaka were the ones who took the road specifications. “We are not in charge, specifications came from Lusaka, and this has been the problem because we have no say,” he said. Mr Magande warned that shoddy contractors would be black-listed. “These people are not giving us value for our money, and what is unfortunate is that these jobs are certified by our own people,” he said.

The minister said there was need to ensure that road works were supervised. He said he would speak to the Minister of Works and Supply to find out whether engineers were satisfied with the works being done.

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