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Max Chongu K8.9M contracts opposed


GOVERNMENT should immediately enact laws to stop foreign contractors from getting full contracts, and instead of continuing to subject locals roles to subcontracts, the law should ensure locals become main contractors who subcontract foreign firms, Zambia Association of Citizen Contractors (ZACCO) president Mutale Mpepo has demanded.

Mr Mpepo said the move will not only allow local contractors to contribute to the economic development of the country but also ensure that money remains in the local economy.

He said there has been a lot of talk over the 20 percent subcontracting but little has been done and that it’s now time to act by passing a law that gives local contactors an upper hand.  Mr Mpepo said this way the money will remain in the local economy.

He was commenting to a Parliamentary committee which has noted with concern weaknesses in the implementation of the 20 percent sub-contracting policy due to the absence of the law to ensure strict adherence by main contractors.

The committee has since recommended among other things, strengthening the policy by enacting it into law that ensures strict adherence, that the scope of works and rates are identified at tender stage to form part of the evaluation criteria and cure the reluctance by foreign contractors in subcontracting locals.

Presenting the report for adoption in parliament last week, committee chairperson Mubika Mubika said government should ensure contracts with foreign firms have conditions that the contractors demonstrate willingness and ability to build the capacity of local contractors through skills, technology, and operating-capital transfer partnerships.

He said the previous committee had also expressed concern that the policy on subcontracting which provided for mandatory subcontracting of 20 per cent of all major contracts to local contractors was not effectively backed by legal provisions.

Mr Mubika said also said subcontractors do not participate in the early   procurement process and are only introduced after a contract is awarded.

He said his committee also noted that there is no clear guidelines on the implementation of the policy and that subcontractors do not take part in determining works, and therefore difficult to grow the capacity of local contractors. 

Meanwhile, the Committee has noted that previously there were many local contractors chasing limited tenders, and that most of high value contracts were given to foreign contractors which resulted in unfair competition for local contractors.

The committee recommended that in order to help mitigate these challenges and increase local content in the industry, the government should facilitate the formation of construction cooperatives and mergers of smaller construction firms.

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