By Josephine Chipofya:
Following uproar from contractors who threatened to abandon government works over non-payment and delayed funding, Deputy Transport and Public Works Minister Nancy Chaola Mdoko has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to meeting its financial obligations.
Earlier this year, the government said it owed contractors working on public projects K79 billion, arrears it said it inherited from the previous administration.
Speaking on Wednesday, when she inspected Jenda- Edingeni Road as well as Mnjiri and Chakazi bridges in Mzimba District, Chaola Mdoko said the government wanted stalled projects to be completed on time.
Construction of Mnjiri and Chakazi bridges started in 2018 but deadlines have been missed for a while.
She said the newly introduced Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) had some challenges which required familiarisation by government controlling officers, a challenge that had been addressed.
“The government made some changes in the Ifmis payment system which had to be well understood by government finance officers and that delayed payments to some contractors but, now, all the problems have been resolved and all these projects will be completed within the specified timeframe,” Mdoko said.
Roads Authority (RA) Board Chairperson Joe Ching’ani said he was satisfied with progress of works.
“This is a project very dear to us and the people of Mzimba and we are very satisfied with the standards and speed at which the contractors are doing their job,” he said.
Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande commended the government for its commitment in bankrolling the projects.
The K6.7 billion Jenda- Edingeni Road, which was supposed to be completed on February 22 2020, is scheduled to be completed by October 22 2021.
It is being constructed by China Railway Engineering Group and 77 percent of works are done, according to RA officials.