By NATION REPORTER
GOVERNMENT has been let down by the previous contactor engaged to work on 20.2km of Mkushi township roads, Local Government Permanent secretary Amos Malupenga has said.
Mr Malupenga said this in the wake of concerns by Mkushi District Commissioner Luka Mwamba over delays in the construction of township roads.
The DC said this when Mr Malupenga paid courtesy call on him at his office before inspecting the roads.
Mr Mwamba told the PS that some sections of society in the area had taken advantage of the situation to accuse government of failing to construct township roads in Mkushi.
In response, Mr Malupenga said government had showed commitment to deliver by financing the project.
Mr Malupenga explained that after the project was funded, the initial contractor decided to go under, forcing government to terminate the contract.
“You can see the commitment by government to deliver. In this case, we have been let down by the contractor. Like you rightly observed, money was released. This project was funded but the contractor went under, having been financed.
“Now, you can see that progress is being recorded and things are moving. Where we are now, we are very confident that all the issues that delayed us have been resolved and we are in discussions with the new contractor to give this project the priority and urgency that it deserves,” Mr. Malupenga explained.
He added that people on the ground might not appreciate challenges faced by the contractor and will be saying the President promised to construct roads but nothing was happening.
He said even if they were told that the project was fully funded and money was released and that it was only the contractor who disappeared, they would not understand.
Mr Malupenga further said, local contractors needed to conduct themselves in a manner that will build public confidence.
He said his office had been receiving many requests from Mkushi that the project be given to AVIC International.
The PS, however, said government was aware that there were some capable and reliable contractors such as Stalwart road contractor Limited who were doing the right thing.
Mr. Malupenga assured the people of Mkushi that the project was on course and would be completed.
And after conducting roads inspections, Mr Malupenga said he was satisfied with the work done so far by Stalwart Road Contractor Limited despite challenges the company was facing including getting raw materials from outside the province.
In interview, Stalwart Road Contractor Limited project coordinator Davies Mubanga said 40 percent of the work had been done and the project was expected to be through within four months.
Government has awarded Stalwart Road Contractor a contract to construct 20.2km township roads worth over K23 million after terminating the contract for earlier contractor who never performed to expectations of the community.