— Labour and Social Security Minister, Fackson Shamenda has called on Chinese construction companies operating in the country to focus on delivering quality infrastructure that will last long.
Mr Shamenda made the call yesterday when he visited Sino Hydro Group of Companies which has been contracted to construct the U$ 230 million Itezhi tezhi Hydro electric power station.
He said that it was important for the Chinese companies to be committed to the quality of their projects instead of rushing to complete and then sacrificing quality.
“ I know that in China there are three types of products: You can buy the same type of shoe which can last for a week at a very low price, then you have the same type of shoe which lasts for one year and another high quality which can last for 10 years,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said Zambians want projects that are of high quality and can benefit their long term development.
Mr Shamenda who toured the construction site in the company of Itezhi tezhi District Commissioner Roy Nang’alelwa said he was impressed with the works so far especially with the state-of-the water and sewerage infrastructure which has eradicated the once chronic-water problem in the district.
He wished that many other companies in the country could emulate Itezhi tezhi Power Corporation’s corporate social responsibility.
“You know I was in Siavonga recently and I witnessed the critical shortage of water there. People were moving with drums to fetch for water. It is a situation where you have a big lake and yet there is no fish for people to eat,” Mr Shamenda said.
Mr Shamenda who gave glowing tributes of the hardworking culture of the Chinese, urged the foreign companies operating in the country to help eliminate corruption in obtaining contracts from government.
“The PF government has declared a zero tolerance for corruption and those who are corrupt will not find it easy. You have to remove the human factor of corruption in such activities’ he told the officials from TATA, ZESCO and Sino Hydro group of companies.
The minister said that he is going to tell his counterparts from Ministries of Local Government and Housing and Commerce to visit Itezhi tezhi district so that they can help offer some advise in planning the town given that the project will result into an explosion in economic activities.
Mr Shamenda also directed the district council to engage the traditional leaders in the district in developmental programmes especially in the expected growth of the district so that they can offer land for various developments.
Mr Shamenda also advised Itezhi tezhi Power Corporation (ITPC) and the Sino Hydro contractor to employ a majority of local people to reduce on vandalism and crime.
He noted that when locals are employed there is a sense of ownership of the project and they would want to protect the infrastructure so that they continue benefitting in terms of employment.
The Labour minister also suggested that once power station is operational, it is a good idea to reduce electricity tariff rates in order to encourage investors to invest in the district.
And Itezhi tezhi Power Corporation Technical Director Kedar Prasad said in a presentation that once the power project is completed power reliability will greatly improve in the district.
“Benefits of the project are that power outages, power reliability will improve and bring significant economic benefits to the district” Prasad said.
Mr Prasa said that the district will also have adequate power supply because it will increase from the current 1MVA to 10 MVA.
He noted that the U$5 million water system which is at 100% has increased capacity of water supply to 3.6 million litres per day and the water problem has been eradicated in the town.
Mr Prasa further observed that the project will enhance the fishing industry, expand the tourism industry, banking services and contribute immensely to regional power supply through the Southern Africa Power Pool.