A GOOD road network is always good for the economic development of any country.
This is because good and durable roads ease the movement of people and their goods.
Good roads also prolong the life of vehicles as they do not frequently break down.
Therefore, Lusaka Deputy Mayor Portipher Tembo’s observation about road contractors failing to complete their contracts in a stipulated time deserves some attention.
Our road contractors should come clean and explain whether their delays to complete their projects are aimed at perfecting their construction when the opposite is true.
We have observed that no matter how long most of our contractors take to complete a particular road project, the end result in most cases has been shoddy.
It is a notorious fact that while the roads built shortly after Zambia’s Independence in 1964 had a long life span, this is no longer the case these days.
This is despite engineers have advanced their knowledge and are using latest technology in their day to day work.
It is surprising that nowadays roads do not last as many years as the supervising consultant sign for at completion point.
Even as potholes surface before the road lifespan signed for in the completion certificate, it is rare to see the contractor being taken to task to go back and redo the work so that the road construction agreement is met. This should not be allowed to continue.
Government should pay attention to the contractors’ propensity to do shoddy works on roads when most of them delay to complete their project.
We make this call because it is a bad practice for contractors to drag on with projects, thereby ending up with giving Government a bad name.
This does not only end there as Government also incur unnecessary costs as it has to ensure that the projects is completed, repeatedly going back to inspect the projects.
If there is any financing gap because of the delays, still Government has to meet the shortfall.
It is for this reason we urge Government to put in place measures that will deter road contractors from delaying road works.
The Government cannot continue pumping money in one sector when there are many others areas of need which require public resources to develop.
There are so many competing development needs which require the public resources which which can be sourced from timely completion of projects, such as roads.