Government says it will continue to engage foreign contractors on its projects as long as local contractors continued to under perform.
Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti said some local contractors have on several occasions underperformed on projects much to the disappointment of the people who are direct beneficiaries of the projects.
Speaking during a meeting with contractors in Mansa , Mr. Mulongoti said government was in a hurry to develop the country and will therefore reprimand contractors for doing shoddy works at the expense of tax payers’ money.
He said government was ready to promote and support local contractors to build their capacity but that they should be responsible and committed to putting up quality work once awarded contracts.
The Minister said local contractors needed to change their work culture and build credibility in themselves to avoid shoddy works and ensure that government gets value for its money.
“I can assure you that government will not sit and watch you steal money from the people through your shoddy work and desertion of contracts. We will pursue you to ensure that you pay back the funds,” Mr. Mulongoti said.
The minister said he was disappointed with the bad workmanship of some contractors in Luapula Province noting that many contractors had abandoned construction projects despite being paid by government.
He directed the Provincial Roads Development Agency and Buildings Department to compile and submit a list of infrastructure that had been abandoned and names of contractors engaged for action.
“Local contractors cry that we prefer foreign contractors to them, this is because of the bad workmanship they have demonstrated and I can assure you we will continue to engage foreign contractors because what we need at the end of the day is a good product,” Mr. Mulongoti said.
Meanwhile, Luapula Province Minister Boniface Kawimbe has urged contractors and suppliers in the province to reinvest their profits into procurement of equipment and machinery.
Dr Kawimbe said local contractors had failed to compete favorably with foreign contractors because they lacked capacity to do quality works upon being awarded contracts.
He challenged the contractors to apply for funds under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) Funds to procure equipment and machinery.
Dr. Kawimbe said the province still had funds under the CEEC and was awaiting proposals from applicants.