ZAMBIAN publishers stand to lose more than US$4 million to foreign companies should the Ministry of Education proceed to award a textbook tender to foreign companies.
This follows the failure of a last-ditch court challenge, which was dismissed by the Lusaka High Court last Friday.
The publishers had taken the matter to court to compel Government to award the contract to Zambians who had shown capacity to undertake the task.
Publishers Association of Zambia vice chairperson Alice Mkandawire told the Daily Nation that it was unfair that out of the six Zambian publishing companies that tendered, none were picked, saying the situation had worked to the disadvantage of local teachers who were writers and editors of the curriculum.
The Zambian publishers had spent millions of Kwacha developing the books in addition to the money they paid to lodge the tenders.
“What criteria did the ministry to eliminate all Zambians and choose foreign companies one of which had failed to deliver previously and the other which was registered only a few weeks ago,” she said.
“We have lost the case in the court, but we have already lodged our complaint to the Supreme Court, because we are concerned with the education system in the country, which could be affected by these delays,” Ms Mkandawire said.
High court Judge Judy Mulongoti on Friday discharged an application restraining the Government from awarding the contract which had been suspended pending finalization of the court challenge.
However publishers have complained that should Government award the tender to four foreign publishing companies to print the new curriculum, it would work to the disadvantages of local printers who had already spent millions of kwacha on developing the books.