Mon, 05 Dec 2016 09:51:15 +0000
By Mukosela Kasalwe
A WRANGLE has erupted between the main Zambian contractor, Buildcon Investments Limited, and local sub-contractors working on the Chingola-Solwezi road due to alleged failure by Buildcon to follow Government policy on empowerment of local contractors. The situation is alleged to have stalled works on the drainages, making the road practically impassable this rainy season.
In a statement availed to the Daily Nation, Dahmos Contractors director, Louis Ng’andu, alleged that Buildcon altered a Government document to tailor it to their own terms so as to amass benefits at the expense of the sub-contractors, a situation he said had made the road diversions water-logged and muddy. Mr Ng’andu described the situation as a ‘‘threat to the life blood of the economy, which is copper, owing to the poor road’’.
Mr Ng’andu explained that Buildcon was engaged as main contractor to rehabilitate 40 kilometers of the road stretching from 60 kilometers on the Copperbelt side of the road to 100 kilometers on the North Western side at a cost of over K300 million, with full knowledge that 20 percent of the works were to be sublet to local sub-contractors. He accused Buildcon of undermining the sub-contractors by changing the contract document template given to them by Government and removing some clauses which are allegedly important to the smooth running of the project for their own benefit and in order to frustrate the sub-contractors.
“There is pandemonium on the Chingola- Solwezi road as there is a deadlock between the main contractor Buildcon Investments Limited and the sub-contractors ─ Denzel Trading Limited, Dahmos Contractors and General Dealers Limited, Sandana Constructions, Jansi African Engineering Company, Mukane Constructions Limited, Kazain Contractors, Royal Engineering Limited ─ on Section 60-100km Lot” Mr Ng’andu said. Mr Ng’andu claimed that despite beginning work in June last year, Buildcon have only done 10 km to stone base course and about a kilometer to asphalt wearing course, meaning it will take them another three years to finish the project against the intended completion date of 30 November 2016.
He claimed that the sub-contractors, who started working on the project in February this year, have not been paid despite efforts to highlight the impasse to relevant authorities. Mr Ng’andu claimed that the sub-contractors have lost over K13 million in advance payments and mobilization fees as a result of the altered Government document. He said more than 300 employees of the sub-contractors have gone for months without pay as a result of the delayed payments. Mr Ng’andu called on the Government to intervene in the matter and iron out the discrepancies in the contracts.