A named contractor constructing the K319 million community ice plant in Gwembe district has allegedly abandoned works, bringing the project to a standstill.
This is despite the fact that the government had fully paid the contractor for the project.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS shortly after a tour of the site today, Gwembe District Commissioner, Dorothy Hamvula, expressed concerns over the delays in the completion of the project which was supposed to have been commissioned in June this year.
“This project was supposed to have been commissioned in June this year, but according to information I have received, the contractor has not been on site since March this year, this is despite the fact that he has been paid in full for the whole project,” she lamented.
Ms. Hamvula wondered why the named contractor was paid in full before the completion of the project.
She explained that at first, the contractor had cited delays by ZESCO to erect power lines at the site as the reason for the delayed completion.
“At first the contractor said he could not complete the project because ZESCO had not yet powered the site, but now ZESCO has done its part, but the contractor has not been on site for more than six months now,” she explained.
A check by ZANIS at the project site revealed that very little progress has been made, with the wiring and plumbing not yet completed, while the plastering of the buildings housing the ice machine and the offices were partially done.
This is despite all the necessary materials to complete the project being readily available on site.
The contractor only did a bit of chiseling of the walls for the wiring. The ice machine has not yet been connected to the power supply.
The named contractor, who was awarded the contract by the Justice for Solidarity Poverty Reduction Funds (JSPRF) early last year, has been away from the project site for more than six months, and was allegedly seen in Lusaka and Sesheke, where he was awarded another project.
Once completed, the Chipepo Ice plant project would benefit both local and general fish traders by providing refrigeration and cold room services to traders who store or transport fish to other parts of the country.