Infrastructure and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale has challenged Engineers in Zambia to work together to bring down the cost of constructing roads in Zambia.
Mr Mwale said Government thinks that Zambian roads are expensive and that stakeholders must work to bring the cost down.
He was speaking when he met officials from the Engineering Institution of Zambia, Association for Consulting Engineers of Zambia and the Road Development Agency.
He pointed out that the Ministry would prioritise the search for solutions to the problem of infrastructure projects that, are on average, more costly than comparable projects elsewhere.
Mr Mwale cited the construction of roads and schools in Zambia as too expensive and challenged EIZ to identify the problem and recommend solutions.
He assured EIZ of the support of the Ministry and the constant consultation with the Institution in searching for solutions.
On payment of Zambian suppliers, Zambia contractors and Zambian consultants, Mr Mwale pledges that his Ministry would be sensitive, committed and transparent to source money and clear arrears.
He however, acknowledged that liquidity was a challenge because government had contracted a lot of projects and the problem of high costs had constrained the Treasury’s capacity to pay stakeholders on time.
As regards construction materials, Mr Mwale challenged EIZ to promote local materials, including steel, cement, paints and chemicals and discourage contractors from importing expensive materials from abroad, consequently denying local manufacturers from benefiting from the infrastructure growth.
On the hosting of the Africa Engineering Conference, Mr. Mwale pledged to promote the event and encourage all stakeholders from Government and the private sector to attend this important event.
He said it was the priority of government to encourage knowledge sharing, common resolution of problems and the presence of participants from abroad was good for tourism.
And in response, EIZ President Sydney Matamwandi who led his delegation assured Mr. Mwale that the Institution would engage members and come up with problem identification as to why projects, especially are too costly in Zambia and make tangible proposals to be presented to the Minister.
Mr Matamwandi thanked Mr Mwale for an early invitation of the Institution to see him as he begins a new tour of duty.