CHINA National Complete Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has suspended works on the US$ 499 million Kafulafuta Dam project due to erratic funding.
Construction works in Masaiti district of the Copperbelt have suffered a major setback after the contractor suspended operations.
This is according to a letter dated 5th February 2020, issued to sub-contractors.
The works on the project that is expected to be completed by 31st December 2021 have been halted.
Kafulafuta water supply project is expected to provide water to at least one million people in four towns in the province.
Consortium of Local Contractors and Allied Suppliers secretary general Bruce Mwamba revealed that the disruption of the project had affected about 15 local contractors after government defaulted on paying the main contractor.
Mwamba said around 450 workers under the 15 sub contractors would be affected as a result of the stoppage.
“This is not good news for the subcontractors. A total of about 15 subcontractors are affected. This means that 450 workers under the 15 subcontractors will be affected as a result of this indefinite suspension. We appeal to the relevant authorities to fund the contractor,” Mwamba said.
But Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe said the works have stopped because the ground is wet.
He claimed that the project has not been halted due to a lack of funding.
Mwakalombe has instead attributed the work stoppage to heavy rains and has claimed that the wet conditions at the construction site have made it challenging for the contractor to sustain works.
“For now, it is just that the ground is wet. You know very well that in any construction, it is not advised to continue with works when the ground is wet. So the works have just stopped because of the rains,” claimed Mwakalombe.