Local Development Fund (LDF) have complained that some local contractors are frustrating development projects through the provision of poor quality services and delays in completion of such projects.
The LDF, a government entity, was designed to pool together all funding for local development initiatives in order to realise a harmonised approach in their implementation to achieve efficiency.
According to LDF officials, the delays in the completion of some projects are creating a lot of costs overruns and it also becomes difficult to recover the money already in the hands of contractors whose contracts have been terminated.
In Ntcheu, the just opened bus depot project cost LDF K70 million more than planned while in Mangochi-Monkey Bay the delays in bus depot and modern market projects forced the Fund to spend K200 million more than initially planned.
Director of Urban Development at LDF, Mike Moyo, said it even becomes difficult for the Fund to follow up the contractual issues in court the courts work at their own pace, thereby taking time to determine cases between LDF and the fired contractors.
“We agree with the contractors at the onset on the quality of work that we are looking for and they promise to deliver. It is after sometime that we realise that the contractor is not doing what we told them to do and what we do is to terminate the contract and find another contractor who can effectively implement the project. So, the second contractor does not consider the payment that we agreed with the first contractor and what happens is that the cost goes up thereby creating overruns,” Moyo said.
He said LDF suspects the contractors also connive with some people working in the banks to provide false information on the amount of money that the contractor has in the bank.
“When we go to the bank, in the process of recovering what the contractor already received from us, we find that the contractor has no money in the account. And when the matter goes to court, the courts also take time to determine. Dishonesty is killing this country,” he said.
Vice President, Saulos Chilima, who is Construction Sector Transparency (CoST) champion, already said he believes there are some quarters in the construction industry that are corrupt and do whatever it takes to delay government projects so that they benefit through inflated costs.
Chilima warned that such people might be doing this for self-enrichment but they should always remember that this country is greater than individuals.
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