Almost 90 percent of infrastructure development in Zambia was being undertaken by foreigners, Special Assistant to the President for Projects and Monitoring Lucky Mulusa said.
He said the trend should come to an end, adding that the nation was losing a lot of money through foreign contractors as most of them were transferring the money to their economies.
Mr Mulusa said this yesterday when he addressed contractors at the 2015 construction and engineering expo held in Lusaka at the Show Grounds.
“The money that goes out of the country does not promote economic growth. This needs to change,” Mr Mulusa said.
Mr Mulusa said Zambia was losing a lot of money because most local contractors did not have quantity surveyors, making foreigners who had quantity surveyors taking up most contracts. He said in Zambia civil engineers were the ones doing cost estimations, implementation and monitoring of projects instead of quantity surveyors.
Mr Mulusa urged the local contractors to ensure that they engaged quantity surveyors in their projects if they were to be effective and efficient.
“At the moment the local construction industry is so unsustainable,” Mr Mulusa said.
He said local contractors’ inefficiencies were making Government to account for their mistakes by not having quantity surveyors.
Mr Mulusa implored the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (ABCEC) to ensure that they remained relevant in terms of policy direction.
He said the association’s policies should capture the values and objectives of the association.
The Association of Building and Civil Contractors (ABCEC) says over 80, 000 jobs have been created in the construction industry. Association president Michael Nyirenda said more jobs would have been created had it not been for the escalating prices triggered by the economic meltdown in Zambia.
And the contractors have appealed to Government to carefully scrutinize the Statutory Instrument No. 39 of 2015 on project registration.
Mr Nyirenda said contractors were worried about the modalities of SI 39 on project registration because they were not given enough time for sensitization before it could come into force.
“It is the worry of contractors that failure to register a project, which mostly could be caused by the client, entails that the managing director faces a jail sentence,” Mr Nyirenda said. Mr Nyirenda appealed to the Minister of Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga to look into the modality of implementing the SI. He said there were many problems that contractors were facing in the construction industry with escalating prices being high on the list. Mr Nyirenda said the contractors were still waiting for the Ministry of Works and Supply to address the challenges as promised.
“Our association has submitted to you a list of some of the projects that have been badly affected by the exchange rates and inflation. The contractors are heavily worried,” Mr Nyirenda said.