Buildcon Ltd should not be blamed for delays in the construction of the 45 kilometre of the Solwezi-Chingola road, Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation Lucky Mulusa has said.
He explained that the contractor was struggling due to under allocation of funds which was a small administrative glitch on government’s side that would be rectified.
Mr. Mulusa was speaking during an inspection visit on the Solwezi-Chingola road lot 2, in response to complaints from members of the public.
“As Government, I must admit that there are a few administrative hiccups that caused underfunding to lot 2 which reduced the contractor’s capacity to carry out works” he said.
Mr Mulusa disclosed that lot 2 which fell under local contractors was under funded compared to lot 1 and 3 which were under foreign contractors.
“As government, we owe the contractor K30 million in interim certificates. We will soon pay the contractor to ensure the gets to work” he said.
Mr. Mulusa said residents should not be quick to condemn a contractor before gathering facts.
He said road construction was a complex under taking which should be understood clearly because there is a process that goes into road construction.
“Look at the Chingola-Kitwe road which is 45 kilometers only and begun in 2012, it has not been completed,” Mr Mulusa said.
He said residents should keep in mind that the Solwezi- Chingola road flows through a rain belt area and that road construction cannot be done during the rainy season
He noted that whatever the public is unhappy about is not the contractors fault but forces of nature. Mr Mulusa has however praised the contractor for the commitment and ability to work within the minimum resources provided.
He said Buildcon has demonstrated the ability to plough back what is given to the contractor.
“Government is happy with the contractor who has recorded an achievement rate towards the completion of the road at 40 percent. As government our aim is to empower our own local contractors that way revenue is kept within the country,” he said.
Mr. Mulusa assured Solwezi residents that the administration glitch that led to the underfunding of lot 2 will be worked on.
“The consultant has varied the scope of works on the diversions in order to raise them to make it more passable” he said.
And Buildcon Contracts Engineer Anthony Chongo said lot 2 had various challenges which included the high water table due to rains.
Mr. Chongo said the contractor had been doing some remedial works and engineering interventions.
“We have been doing other works and we have procured an asphalt plant at a cost of about K2 million which has been installed as well,” he said.
Mr Chongo said the plant would produce a superior and longer lasting tar that would preserve the road for longer.
He said the plant would make it easier for the contractor who will begin tarring the road in May.
The 40 kilometre lot 2 of the Solwezi-Chingola road which is being constructed at a cost of K305 million is expected to be completed by 30th November 2016.