National Planning and Development Minister Alexander Chiteme said it is devastating that a number of developmental projects in Western Province have failed to take off, years after they were launched.
Mr. Chiteme has since Wednesday afternoon been in Western Province to inspect a number of projects funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank.
He said he has been left heartbroken with what he has found on the ground saying it is extremely disappointing.
“The works I have found on the ground have left me heartbroken and extremely disappointed. I am deeply ashamed at our work culture and inertia. The lack of ownership and dedication by our people working on these projects is appalling,” Mr. Chiteme said.
He said there is need for Zambians to change the mindset if the country is to develop.
“We first ought to change our mindsets and our attitude towards work. If we have to achieve the goals we have set out for ourselves as a country, business as usual won’t cut it,” he said.
He added, “The National Rural Water and Sanitation project funded by AfDB started in 2015, it is meant to increase access to clean water for our people. 1,231 boreholes are supposed to be sunk across the 16 districts of Western Province. Friends, to this day, not even a single borehole is operational. Devastating!”
“Friends, the government of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to ensuring that our people have access to clean water, little wonder it sourced funds for this project, but those tasked with implementation are failing us. An overhaul is required!”
Mr. Chiteme said he has since instructed his Permanent Secretaries to ensure that a radical restructuring of the implementing units is done.
“We desperately need performance based contracts (PBC) in our civil service. This level of incompetence is sickening and frankly people a crime against our people. Friends, despite us not having PBCs, we have provisions that can allow us to weed out those that are enemies of progress. I have ordered my Permanent Secretaries to act decisively! People shouldn’t continue to draw salaries, yet fail to implement noncomplex things like boreholes,” he said.
Mr. Chiteme said it is also depressing that works on the Cashew Nut Infrastructure Development project have also not progressed as expected.
“Works had stalled and only recently did progress begin to happen, thanks to the recently hired Tanzanian Professor. Honestly friends, should it take a consultant from Tanzania to come and teach us how to grow trees?”
He added, “It’s not the work of our President or his Ministers to implement projects. But it’s increasingly becoming the norm that projects only move only if the Head of State or a Minister visits a project. Quite unfortunate,” he said.