SPECIAL Assistant to the President for projects monitoring and implementation Andrew Chella says government is concerned with the rate of execution of various projects in Eastern Province.
And Eastern Province permanent secretary Veronica Mwiche has called for more vigilance in supervising contractors.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Mwiche at her office yesterday, Chella said government had paid most of the contractors in the province.
“We have followed projects and I must say that Eastern Province, all the projects that we’ve visited have been adequately funded, so government has done its part,” he said. “What is now of concern to us is the rate of execution of the works. And we are hoping that from here, we are going as far as Vubwi, Chadiza and Lundazi so that we don’t see what we have seen in most places we have been. We were in Msoro yesterday (Tuesday). In Msoro we found some tremendous progress, we were in Msoro about two and half months ago and we found that there was literally nothing happening that time but I think the instructions we left are being complied with.”
Chella said the contractor in Msoro was working and the consultant was on site.
“On the other side where we went it is quite disappointing. Our biggest issue also is to do with the presidential directive on local contractors. I think the President has time and time again spoken about the engagement of local contractors and as you know the engagement of local contractors has got a very big impact on the economy,” he said. “What it means is that if we’ve got a project of K100 and you give K20 to the local contractor and that K20 is going to be circulating within the economy. Our preference actually according to the presidential directive is that if the project is in Chipata and there are contractors in Chipata. The first preference will be given to the contractors from Chipata so that the local economy in Chipata benefits.”
Chella said he was talking to projects implementing agencies to follow the presidential directive that local contractors must participate in projects not only for economic gain but for skills transfer.
“Our appeal to main contractors, they shouldn’t look at the local contractors as a burden, no. They are actually partners and that is why we don’t separate projects, that this project is 100 kilometres and 20 kilometres we are giving the local contractors separately because that way the main contractors will say ‘I have nothing to do with the 20 kilometres,” he said. “But the 20 kilometres must also be supervised by the main contractor so that when the project is complete, the local contractor would have gained some knowledge.”
And Mwiche said Chella’s oversight and supervisory function was important.
“I am very happy with what you have been doing, the monitoring of projects and of course your monitoring and your supervisory function is very important,” said Mwiche. “What you have shared is very important to our office because we also have to provide supervision to these contractors who are on the ground. What you have mentioned is going to help us to be more vigilant in supervising the contractors.”