By Nchimunya Miyoba
Government has released US $59 million for the construction of roads on the Copperbelt that had stalled due to lack of funding.
And government says it is disappointed that Avic international is not adhering to the 20 per cent subcontracting of local contractors’ threshold.
Special Assistant to the President for Project Implementation and Monitoring Andrew Chellah said the released $59 million will go towards the construction of roads in the three districts.
Speaking after touring roads in Kitwe today July 8, 2019, Mr Chellah said the money which has been released is part payment for the Zambia Township Roads Project (ZTRP) 300 that was embarked in Kitwe, Mufulira and Chingola but had stalled due to non-availability of funds.
Mr Chellah who accompanied by Kitwe Mayor and other government officials toured president, Oxford, Kazembe among others said he was in the district to check on roads in the city following public outcry by the stalled works.
He said he was happy with the works done so far by Avic International the contracted hired to do the 56 Km roads in the district.
“Though I’m disappointed that Avic is not adhering to the 20 per cent subcontracting agreement as seen by a few numbers of local contractors on site. But I’m sure they soon engage local contractors,” he said.
And Avic international Copperbelt Project Manager Wang Peng confirmed that Government has pushed in funds of over $50 for the road construction on the Copperbelt Province.
Mr Peng said the project has commenced and was running smoothly despite a few challenges like moving underground cables.
He asked government to help with companies to expedite the process.
“Government has sent in money through a Zanaco account therefore all contractors are expected to be on site soon. The project will take two months to complete despite receiving the funds late
“We will need more man power so as to beat the time frame and also need help from companies to assist with removing cables from the so as to speed up works,” he said.
Meanwhile Green Party President Peter Sinkamba said the party was delighted that finally government has released funds for the roads in Kitwe as the city seriously needs a facelift like other towns.
Mr Sinkamba urged the contractor to seriously work on the road as there has been a public outcry in the sector.
“We are delighted to hear that the government has sent in money for the road works because works had been suspended. We were assured that works will take two months when they had commenced and that was from March and this is now July, meaning we have not gotten anywhere.
“So now that funds have been paid we hope Avic will be serious with the works because we want our roads to be done just like those in Lusaka for their roads have been done on time,”he said.
Road works had stalled for weeks in Kitwe to non avaibility of funds thereby leaving most roads closed causing congesting in most roads.