By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE advertisement for tendering of routine road maintenance has not been cancelled but paused because my ministry wants to correct some anomalies which such tenders have created in the past, Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Charles Milupi has said.
On Monday, Mr Milupi announced that he had cancelled the tender advert for routine road maintenance because only the same people were being awarded contracts during the previous administration, leading to an uproar in which contractors challenged his decision calling it illegal as it was not backed by the law.
Mr Milupi told the Daily Nation yesterday that he paused the procurement proceedings to avoid the country accruing debt.
He said in the past, some road tenders were advertised and contracts awarded when Government had no financial resources to fund such projects.
The Minister said such actions of advertising tenders when government had no money has contributed to the debt which the country has accrued.
The Minister said that was why he decided to pause this particular advert for tender.
“What we have done is to pause the advert from running in the media so that we assess the availability of resources so that once we award the contracts, we are able to pay as soon as the works are done and not to keep contractors waiting,” MrMilupi said.
He also said the other reason was to stop segregation in the awarding of contractors as in the past contracts were being awarded to the same contactors.
Mr Milupi emphasized that the government was devising a plan of ensuring that no contractor is side-lined whether start up or already established.
On Wednesday, Zambian Association of Citizen Contractors (ZACCO) General Secretary, Danny Simumba said the decision to cancel the tender for routine maintenance of roads by Mr Milupi was not only illegal but would delay the process of job creation for the unemployed youths.
Mr Simumba also said that according to the Public Procurement Act No. 8 of 2020 in Section 34(1) (f), the minister had no powers to cancel procurement proceedings.