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Abandoned hospital project irks President Edgar Lungu

From AARON CHIYANZO in Ikelenge

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed the immediate resumption of works at the K12.9 million Ikelenge District Hospital which was abandoned by the contractor, Assesco Limited in 2019 despite being paid almost half of the total amount.

The works which started in 2015 reached 40 percent completion before being abandoned but the cost of the remaining works which were estimated at K8 million had increased to K31 million.

President Lungu however said the PF government had an ambitious agenda to roll out development to all corners of the country and would not allow projects to be abandoned.

He directed government authorities to quickly finalise the processes of disengaging the contractor who abandoned the hospital project so that a new contractor could move on site.

The President said this after inspecting the abandoned hospital in Ikelenge yesterday.

“Can you quickly finalise the processes of getting the new contractor on site so that works can resume immediately. We have an agenda as PF to take development to all corners of the country so we will not allow projects to be abandoned,” he said.

And North-Western Province Permanent Secretary Willies Mangimela assured the President that the new contractor would pick up the works once the Office of the Attorney General concludes the processes of getting rid of Assesco Limited.

Mr Mangimela said the government would ensure that workers who were abandoned together with the project were paid from the money that was still owed to Assesco Limited for works already done.

Meanwhile, provincial Infrastructure Officer, Paul Lusaka said about K31 million was now needed to complete the hospital.

Engineer Lusaka said the cost of the project had gone up because of delays as the price of materials had increased.

He however said a new contractor had been identified and was ready to commence works once a go-ahead was given.

And Ikelenge Constituency PF candidate, Henry Fisher said the project was long overdue as the population in the area had increased.

Mr Fisher said available health facilities were not enough to cater for the population of Ikelenge.

He promised to follow up the matter closely and ensure that the hospital was completed quickly.

Mr Fisher appealed to the government to also ensure that the abandoned workers were paid.

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