The Road Development Agency-RDA has been directed to ensure that all the roads in central province earmarked for construction under the Link Zambia 8000 project are completed within the stipulated time.
Deputy minister for Works and Supply Malama Mwimba says the roads should be done according to the agreed upon terms and conditions.
He was speaking during his two-day tour of Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi districts, to specifically inspect the road works, as well as the construction works at Mulungushi University.
He said it is common knowledge that the Patriotic Front, PF government has placed infrastructure development high on its agenda because it has the mandate to improve the living standards of the Zambian people as well as attain development within five years.
The Deputy Minister also warned against shoddy works saying he will personally inspect all the construction works that fall under his Ministry in order to ensure that quality work is done across the country.
‘’Let me warn you, Mr Regional Engineer, that my office will not tolerate shoddy works, because as you may be aware, my government has released a lot of money, countrywide, to develop the road infrastructure and, therefore, you must ensure that quality work is done on all the roads in this Province”, said Mr Mwimba as he addressed RDA Central province regional engineer Joseph Mwinga.
Mr Mwimba warned further that he did not want to see a difference between the roads done in Lusaka and those in Kabwe because there is no disparity in terms of funds.
He further observed that it has taken the country a long time to improve the road infrastructure and that the best thing one can do is to ensure that the roads are constructed according to specifications.
‘’As you may be aware, the roads were last constructed by the Kaunda regime a long time ago, and for over 30 years, there has been no meaningful development with regards to the road infrastructure”, he explained.
Mr Mwimba noted that the PF government has a political will to better people’s lives by linking the country and assured that this had brought hope to many Zambians.
And during a tour of Mulungushi University, Mr Mwimba raised concern over the slow pace at which construction works are moving.
He said it is regrettable to note that the works which were supposed to be completed by December, 2010, are still going on, with most of them seemingly very far from completion.
He urged the contractor working on the hostels, library and lecture theatres, to speed up the process and assured him that government will settle all the outstanding bills.
‘’I can assure you Mr Contractor, that my government will pay you all the monies that we owe you because one thing that you can be sure of, is that once you are owed by government, you will definitely be paid,” said Mr Mwimbu.
The deputy minister added that both his Ministry and that of Education were aware that you the contractor was owed a lot of money and that efforts are being made to ensure that he is paid the dues.
And earlier, RDA Regional Engineer, Joseph Mwiinga assured government that despite the one month delay experienced due to heavy reasons his office will ensure that the works are done according to the specifications and completed by December, 2013.
Mr Mwiinga said in order to cover up for the delay the contractor Asphalt Roads Zambia has doubled the efforts by bringing more workers on site to ensure that he catches up on the lost time.
‘’I can assure Sir that the contractor is very much aware of the need for him to conclude the works on time and to this effect, he has doubled the workforce and he is promising to bring more workers to ensure that he completes the work by December, this year.’’ He said.
He said a total of 31 Kilometres has been awarded to Kabwe district while 4 Kilometres has been awarded to Kapiri-Mposhi district.
He, however, said his office has sent an application to the Ministry of Works and Supply, to consider adding 23 Kilometres to Kabwe district to carter for the roads in Bwacha Constituency, because currently, only a stretch 4 Kilometres will be constructed in Bwacha Constituency against 27 Kilometres in Kabwe Central Constituency.
Meanwhile, Mulungushi University Vice Chancellor Professor, Hellicy Ng’ambi, expressed worry over the delays by government to complete the construction works at the institute.
Ms N’gambi said the contractor working on the hostels, lecture theatre, library and laboratory room is owed about K10 Billion (KR10 Million) in terms of certificates (works already completed but not yet paid for) and K40 Billion (K40 Million) for on-going works amounting to a total of K50 Billion (KR50 Million).
She said this has impacted negatively on the effective functioning of the university, because currently, the university has no lecture theatre, library, laboratory and sufficient accommodation to carter for all the students.
She said right now she has a burden of accommodating 500 students as she has only managed to accommodate 1000 students in the existing hostels while the 500 have been accommodated at Masiye Motel in Kabwe.
The Vice Chancellor said altogether, the university has a total number of 3, 500 students of which 1, 500 are in boarding while 2000 are day scholars.
She is worried that if the situation does not improve, she may be forced to close the institution because she will not be able to accommodate new students as there is no space.
‘’Come August, I will be forced to close the institution if none of the buildings are completed because currently I am struggling to accommodate 500 students, and apart from that, my students have challenges in terms of research as there is no available library and laboratory here. How can you run a university without a laboratory?,’’ She lamented.
Ms Ng’ambi, however, said once completed, the library will be the best in Zambia, while the 450 capacity lecture theatre and 4×120 student capacity hostels currently under construction, will cushion the current class and hostel accommodation challenges faced by the university