–The Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology says it is impressed with workmanship of the Egyptian company engaged to construct the KR 107 million Robert Makasa University in Chinsali District of Muchinga Province.
Committee Chairperson, Christopher Kalila, said this when his committee visited Robert Makasa University which is under construction in the provincial headquarters today.
Dr Kalila, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Lukulu East in Western Province, said his committee is happy with the construction works done so far, adding that the situation is different from other districts where such learning institutions are being constructed.
The Chairperson said the move to increase the number of tertiary education institutions in the country by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is welcome but said there is need to bridge the gap between pronouncement and implementation of the same by those charged with such responsibilities.
Dr Kalila urged Flame Construction Company to speed up the works to enable the learning institution be operational soon and enable many school-leavers and others to access tertiary education.
And Muchinga Province Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS), Jewis Chabi, said the project has created over 450 jobs for the local people in the area who have also ended up acquiring more skills.
Mr Chabi said the skills the local people have acquired will go a long way in enhancing their livelihood even after the construction works at the university are completed.
He said the Zambian workers employed by the Egyptian firm will be able to apply the skills they have acquired in future to improve their lives.
Among the structures under construction at the Robert Makasa University are two lecture rooms, two lecture theatres, a two storey library, four hostels and ten staff houses.
Meanwhile, the provincial administration in Muchinga is concerned that although the project is set for completion in the next two months, it may not be possible to be utilized because it was lacking other important facilities such as the administration block, more staff houses, water reticulation system and many others.
Deputy Permanent secretary, Jewis Chabi, said it is the hope of the provincial administration that the remaining works, which fall under Phase Two of the project, could quickly commence.
Mr Chabi also appealed to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to expedite payments to allow the smooth running of the project and avoid delaying the contractor, adding that the last payment was made in December last year.
Earlier, Flame Construction Company Project Engineer, Simon Kahle, told the Parliamentary Committee on education that Government owes his company a total of KR 20 million for the works done in the last few months.
Mr Kahle said non-payments of funds by the Government has greatly affected the construction works, adding that at the moment the company has some needed materials at one of the border posts marooned because it has no money to clear them with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).
The committee is in Chinsali on its continued tour of provinces and districts to check on infrastructural development aimed at increasing tertiary education in the country.
The committee has so far been on the Copper belt, Lusaka, and Kabwe.
Other Members of Parliament on the committee include UPND’s Derrick Livune of Katombola Constituency, PF’s Stephen Mushanga of Bwacha Constituency, PF’s Boniface Mutale of Kwacha Constituency, MMD’s Maxwell Mwale of Malambo Constituency and UPND’s Clive Miyanda of Mapatizya Constituency.