By GIDEON NYENDWA
ZESCO has justified engaging foreign companies to supply wooden poles indicating that local contractors have no capacity to supply the 150, 000 bulk of poles that it needs urgently.
Zesco board chairperson, Vickson Ncube has said this decision however, did not in any way mean that Zambian companies were left out.
He said this when he featured on a radio programme to discuss the reasons they decided to import the wooden poles.
Mr Nc’ube said if Zesco wanted to get the 150, 000 poles today from local companies they could not get them because they had no capacity to supply them immediately.
“It’s an emergency. We need these poles very fast and people are waiting to be connected,” he said.
He said that their decision to outsource was not for the future, it was just arrived at because they were dealing with an emergency that needed to be handled quickly because the backlog of people who had already paid and were waiting to be connected was becoming unbearable.
Mr Nc’ube said they had a backlog that they could not simply pretend did not exist hence the need to find the quickest possible solutions to this problem and that meant importing directly from the manufacturers and not suppliers.
He said they do not mind paying 10 percent more in terms of price from local suppliers if they had the capacity because every Zambian knows that in doing that, a lot of jobs would be created for the local people but not to give tenders to local suppliers who would rush to foreign companies to supply the poles and cause delays.
Mr Nc’ube also said they were not going to pick foreign companies simply because they are foreign but their price and quality must be justified.
He said if the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited had something to discuss with Zesco, they would know the right way on how to get to him rather than using social media to communicate.
Mr Nc’ube also said that if a Zambian had a small number of poles that they would want to supply to Zesco, they are welcome but they do not need to be part of the tender to supply poles they would simply buy direct from them.