By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZESCO did not locally advertise bids for the supply and delivery of nine and 12 metre wooden poles for use by its construction division, thereby overlooking local companies adept with the capacity to meet the procurement demand.
Primarily, the opportunity was not locally advertised before it was extended to foreign companies to substantiate that no local capacity existed, according to the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) Chief Executive Officer, Florence Muleya.
Ms Muleya said following extensive consultation with ZAM members, the association had noted that the decision to only engage foreign suppliers had overlooked local suppliers of wooden poles.
“Primarily, the opportunity was not locally advertised before it was extended to foreign companies, to substantiate that no local capacity existed. This stood to disadvantage local companies adept with the capacity to meet the procurement demand,” she said.
Ms Muleya stated that one of the ZAM members, a major supplier of treated wooden electrical poles to Zesco for many years, boasts of a total installed plant capacity of 60, 000 poles.
In 2022, she said, the said company had planned to produce 30, 000 wooden poles validating the capacity possessed by local manufacturers who were unfortunately left out of the bid.
“We look forward to reconsideration by Zesco to engage our local manufacturers in the sealed bids
“Further, we wish to re-echo our commitment to supporting and promoting the production and consumption of Zambian products and services to revive the economy,” Ms Muleya said.
On March 23, 2022, Zesco published an Invitation for Bids extending to ten shortlisted bidders for the supply and delivery of nine and 12 metre wooden poles for use by its construction division. The invitation shortlisted ten Zimbabwean and South African companies who have since been invited to submit sealed bids that meet the demand for a backlog of 60, 000 connections.