By SIMON MUNTEMBA
GOVERNMENT will not tolerate continued delays in completing infrastructure projects that are fully paid for because procrastination increases the costs.
Higher Education Permanent Secretary, Kayula Siame, said projects that were overshooting the deadline in completion had cost implications, to the detriment of taxpayers and national development.
Ms Siame said this when she toured Lundazi Trades Training Institute construction site yesterday.
According to the ministry’s public relations department, Ms Siame expressed displeasure over the slow pace of construction of the training institute.
She said it was unacceptable that the project, which started in 2015, could be delayed further when Government had released funds to tackle the challenges contractors faced to have it completed.
Ms Siame admitted that the project had a number of problems, among them, designs which had to be redone and unavailability of resources.
She however said now that the funds were released, works should be expedited.
“Resources have now been made available to complete the project fast. The cost of the project has increased from the initial K21 million to about K32 million.
“That is the negative part but we are hopeful now that these works have begun and some resources mobilized, we’ll be able to move quite quickly and complete the project,” Ms Siame said.
The target, she said, was to ensure that all structural works, fittings and the road network should be completed before the end of the year.
Ms. Siame urged the contractors to ensure that 85 percent of the works were completed in the next three months so that the remaining 15 percent could be completed in the last quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Higher Education Director for Vocational Education and Training, Alex Simumba, said the project was abandoned due to challenges in resources.
Mr Simumba said now that K2.8 million has been released to the contractors, works would be expedited.
Ms. Siame has been in Eastern Province to monitor progress on projects being carried out at trades training institutes in Petauke, Lundazi and Chipata.