By Andrew Mukoma
MINISTER of Works and Supply Felix Mutati has predicted that the future of ESCO, the government unit that operates pontoons at the Kazungula border post is still bright.
This is despite the construction of the Kazungula bridge which will replace the operations and existence of pontoons at Kazungula.
Mr. Mutati told journalists in Kazungula that even after the bridge is completed, ESCO will still be operational in other regions. He said that the collection of revenue by the Zambia Revenues Authority (ZRA) at the Kazungula border is anchored on the operations of pontoons which ferries goods and people between Zambia and Botswana.
The minister said now that the construction of the bridge is underway, ESCO management should look at alternative means to remain operational and be able to contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
“ESCO will establish new links such as the Kashimba border between Zambia and Congo where pontoons will be operated once we move from Kazungula. We are also looking establishing new links between the three countries, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We know the bridge will add value to commerce and trade but we need to work hard and establish new links before the bridge is completed,” he said.
Mr. Mutati said that ESCO is under pressure from losing revenue collection that is why new links must be established to continue running.
And Mr. Mutati ,who also partially toured the Kazungula bridge on the Zambian side has challenged Zambian engineers to pick lessons from Korean engineers that are constructing the multimillion dollar project.
He said that it is important for Zambian engineers to learn something so that they can be the next engineers to construct a bridge.
Meanwhile, the ministry has expressed happiness with the levels of compliance on the use of government transport in Southern Province.
Controller of Government Transport (CGT) Ernest Kunda has disclosed that the levels of compliance in Choma and Livingstone has improved.
“The last time we came here in Livingstone, the misuse of government vehicles was very high compared to this time around. There is an improvement,” he said.
“This time around, out of 22 vehicles which we inspected, only one was impounded due to lack of necessary documents,” said Mr. Kunda.
He told journalists in Livingstone that CGT unit with it’s partnership to RTSA continue enforcing measures meant to reduce on abuse of government vehicles.
Mr. Kunda said that it was worth noting that the situation in Livingstone was similar to that of Choma.
“We will not relent and these measures we have put in place are not just a one off…we will continue until there is change,” he said