Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sentiments expressed by the Minister of Energy against local suppliers is disheartening

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By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

It’s sad when policy-makers join an established tendency that expresses negative sentiments and despises local businesses in preference for foreign ones.

They call our entrepreneurs names; middle-men (yes because succeeding Governments decimated all semblance of manufacturing and industry) unreliable, untrustworthy, crooks, thieves, tenderpreneurs or give them party labels.

Let me give an example;

As Permanent Secretary in Northern Province (and Muchinga), we advertised a tender for big water projects in Nakonde, Isoka, Chinsali, Mpulungu and Kaputa districts.

The first people to rush to my office were some Members of Parliament from these constituencies demanding that the contracts should be given to Chinese companies because they were; “fast, reliable, serious and deliver on time”.

These sentiments were echoed by procurement officers and other civil servants that cautioned me; “Zambians deliver shoddy works, that if they do deliver at all”.

My point in all this was that the response to the bid document and the evaluation of both technical and financial capacity should be the basis to inform us of who was suitable to do the job.

I refused to make decisions based on unfounded prejudices and utter disdain that we treat our local businesses with.

Yes, there are a few indisciplined business entities but this cannot be a blanket assessment of the state of all local businesses.

It is therefore disheartening to read sentiments expressed by the Minister of Energy, Hon. Peter Chibwe Kapala, against local suppliers, and his failure to recognise the need to promote a local supply and value chain eco-system.

But this disdain and sentiments by Hon. Kapala expresses itself officially in many ways including by Law Enforcement Agencies that only pursue and investigate local Zambian businesses and will not touch those of Indian, Lebanese, European or Chinese origin that in fact obtained the largest of contracts from the Government.

At the township or village level, a business or home shop ran by Indians, Burundese, Rwandese or Somalian will never be accused of practising witchcraft!

Similarly, we treat our professionals the same way.

While our doctors, engineers and other professionals excel in foreign lands, back home, we treat them like they should be grateful that a government exist and the sun rises from their air-conditioned offices!

Surely, where do we expect Zambians to benefit from?

19 COMMENTS

  1. As Much is Mr Mwamba may be right in the sense of not stereo typing local businesses, there need to build confidence among Zambians doing business. When Mwanawasa went the route of giving Zambian contractors to work on township roads and Kalulushi Lufwanyama road, what heppened? Most of us Zambians in business are short term thinkers (buy a big a car and build a big house, you are home) who even fail to pay the people we hire to do the work. It is time to begin to prove to the powers that be, that we can do it and do it well.

  2. I really feel for both sides, yet our people are their own worst enemies. We dislike helping each other, and when chances come our way, we struggle to deliver satisfactorily. It’s difficult!

    #plant a tree please!

  3. Never mind foreign nationals failing to deliver – it’s not half as bad as a Zambian failing his own country and people! We need to build trust, and cooperate to improve our lot.

    #plant a tree please.

  4. Amb. Mwamba to remain relevant does not mean one has to be the all day everything commentary champion.
    Because you are more concerned about making a comment, you hardly apply your mind or worse still research . Are you trying to compete with chatterbox Sean?
    You are doing yourself a disservice if your long term plan is to get back on feeding off tax payers money( considering that you have never done anything else)

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  5. @Maganizo, you are such a useless lazy guy. You can’t even work as a minister. Emmanuel Mwamba is preparing to be president, let him practice. Mwamba is just hard working guy, not like you lazy guy like those Zulus there and Minister of Energy of UPND. Maybe I can agree if you propose that Minister of Energy need to be energetic himself, appoint a woman please, are there Masebos left in UPND?

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  6. Mwamba will only finding crumbs on this one………

    The minister has plainly said ZESCO is wants to deliver the best cost value to the customer by cutting out middlemen who only add to the costs and buy directly from sustainable sources , zambian or foreign………..

    Let those zambian middle men turn to producing poles…………

    Inaddition those 60,000 families waiting for power connection are using malasha at unsustainable levels………..

    Pleas speed up the connections…….

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  7. Instead of mwamba trying to stand up for the PF middle men who only add cost to everything…………

    He should be championing ZAFICO or ZESCO to explain to the nation why local pole producers have lost out this time…………..

    Last time the GBMs captured this business…………

    instead of supporting ZAFICO to produce poles PF was busy handing out contracts to their caders……..

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  8. Just look at how Mwamba starts his story when he was PS for Northern Province…he talks about that water contract but doesnt tell you who won the contract…this is a corrupt man speaking; tell us how transparent the tender and procurement process and how that tender was awarded. Dont take us for fooooools!!

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  9. Since we are talking about contracts …Mwamba write something about the Hologram debacle when you were PS at Information ministry.
    By the way you are no longer an Ambassdor but a cadre clinging on to civil service titles!!

  10. The founder of Alibaba wanted to build a company that would last a 100 years when he started. How many reputable firms do we have in Zambia( Zambian native ownership) that would outlive a presidential term??? It should be Zambian government responsibility to see to it that we build big companies. Boost local/small artisan for real not in speeches alone.

  11. We mess around with capital. When opportunities come by, our Asian brothers and Ba zunzungus are ready. They save and have a good relationship with the banks.

  12. Hon Kapala is quite right, UPND is doing things different from the previous regimes when it comes to procurement and value for money. Zambian suppliers have to learn ‘complex management’, whose main concept hinges on managing things on an everchanging evironment.

  13. Muna Dekhane …………..Please just continue being a worker for someone. Politics aside Mwamba has a point but problem we have ”workers” and cadres who wont understand. When are we going to create capacity in Zambian businessmen/women if we don’t give them such straight forward contracts?? The minister must give us data on Zambian companies who failed to execute previous contracts on poles? Are you aware that we have had Zimbabwean companies who could not deliver on same contracts? Yes , some Zambian companies failed to deliver because they are not business people but merely Cadres. Please lets support real local/Zambian businesses.

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  14. I LOVE ZAMBIA – Mwamba is the last person to advising you on such matters when PF was giving Chinks every GRZ contract…all those Police houses were build by Chinks when ZNS could do the job. Why has he not told you who that contract he is talking was eventually awarded to…did he stand up and fight for local contractors. His example is incomplete because he is not truthful.

  15. Hon Mwamba there are times you should just shut up. That there is need to improve the quality of work in Zambia and nurture industrial entrepreneurship cant be doubted. In this country we so lazy that even moulding building blocks is done by foreigners (eg Baran etc in the copperbelt and many here in Lusaka). It is this denialism that does not get us anywhere.

  16. Voesek ka Timbolilo Mwamba iwe! When your Bembastan Kangaroo government was busy giving all supply contracts and bursary scholarships to Bembas alone you had no problem with that. So just shut your stinky Kasai mouth up, nja tuwe.

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