Friday, January 23, 2009

Contractor ditches govt for late payments

Contractor ditches govt for late payments
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:13:26 AM

ZHIAS Construction Limited says it has stopped tendering for government contracts due to the latter’s failure to pay on time. ZHIAS Limited proprietor Zed Daya complained over government’s delay to settle a K96 million debt after the company worked on the Chipata Airport runway in 2001.

He said his company had done a number of government contracts although they knew that the government never paid on time.

"Now you know you can't be taking the government to court all the time because they blacklist you, then you see, we can't even take them to court. It’s unfortunate that this is a situation and some of us who are in the construction industry, we have decided to find our time, especially on our own jobs. Not to mention the names but, recently, I had to take one of the governments' institutions to court because a huge amount of money was owed to me and I managed to get my money after going to court, honestly I was given the money after six years of battle," Daya said.

He said it was sad that the government delayed even to pay small emerging contractors.

"It’s so sad that as far as policies of the government are concerned, they seem to be on paper only; they talk about capacity building of local contractors but if local contractors do the job and they are not paid on time, is that building their capacity?” Daya asked.

He said it was sad that some foreign contractors were being entertained at the expense of the local businesses.

"Some foreign contractors have an added advantage because their government supports them fully where as our the government, instead of supporting the local contractors in building capacity…. Look, I’m not saying that all the contractors are honest, there are so many contractors that have let down the government but they must be able to put in place a selection criteria, they must be able to evaluate and assess the jobs that they have done, the quality of the jobs and then give out the jobs based on the performance," said Daya.

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