GOVERNMENT has summoned the Indian contractors engaged to build the 650 Health Posts countrywide at about US $56 million following concerns raised by stakeholders on the slow pace at which the implementation process is moving.
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde met officials from Angelique International Limited, Jaguar Overseas Limited and Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited in Lusaka yesterday, the meeting he said was the first in the series of others to be held quarterly to discuss the progress on the construction of the 650 health posts.
The three Indian firms were engaged to construct 650 health posts starting from April 25, 2014 to April 25, 2016.
Dr Kasonde said besides his personal concern, Members of Parliament and their constituents had also raised alarm over the slow manner in which the construction works were progressing.
“I would like to share with you the concern that we have and the concern that has been expressed but without adequate data on the rate at which implementation is being carried out in the provinces. These concerns have been expressed by, among others, our colleagues in Parliament and more importantly their constituents in the constituencies where you are operating.
“We cannot keep quiet about it. We have assured them that we shall keep in consultation with the contractors and this is part of that consultation. I have called this meeting because I am concerned in some cases about the lack of progress,” he said.
Dr Kasonde said it was imperative that progress on the construction was followed up as the facilities were of public interest and reiterated that Government would not remain mute on such a critical matter.
Dr Kasonde said also that the Government was indebted to its Indian Government for the financial support and thus would ensure that the funds were utilized for their intended purpose.
“For these reasons, we must meet every so often and I think it will be roughly quarterly and see where we are and where we are going. That is the purpose of this meeting,” he said.
The Minister, with officials from the three Indian contracted companies and those from the Ministry of Health then held a closed door meeting whose findings he said would be made public in due course.
Angelique International Limited assistant general manager, Santosh Kumar, Jaguar Overseas Limited project engineer Perumal Raja and Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited project manager Sanjeeva Reddy assured the minister that they would complete the project within the stipulated time frame.