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By JOHN SAKALA
President Edgar Lungu has expressed concern that there is a paltry number of the elite benefiting from clearing at customs.
Making his latest Facebook post, President Lungu said he has implored the Minister of Finance to ensure skewed business activities towards a few customs clearing agents is addressed.
He said the anomaly where most of the customs clearance is done by a few clearing companies while many small clearing companies are fighting for a paltry percentage should be corrected immediately.
“Conversely, since the enactment of the National Council for Construction Act of 2003, we have made great strides in ensuring that local contractors are empowered through the full implementation of the 20% subcontract policy.
“I have observed that there is no problem with contracts signed between Government and foreign contractors yet there is a problem with contracts signed between foreign contractors and subcontractors in respect to rates applied, which are much lower for subcontractors.
“More importantly, scope of works for local contractors are only drainages and road markings. This has resulted in very limited skills transfer. Added to this, construction materials are procured at very high cost from the same foreign contractors.
“I have directed Road Development Agency (RDA) as a matter of urgency, to carry out a review of all contracts signed between foreign and local contractors and ensure strict compliance to this policy intended to create capacity building and empower local contractors,” he said.