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Lowest bidder option affecting roads quality

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By Emmanuel Chirwa:

GONDWE—Quality gets compromised

Roads Fund Administration has said preference for lowest bidders is among factors compromising quality of roads in the country.

Roads Fund Administration Board Chairperson, Chancy Gondwe made the observation during the African Road Maintenance Fund Association Meeting at Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel in Salima District on Tuesday.

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The meeting themed “Ensuring Value for Money in Road Works” is meant for member states to share experiences on how to construct quality roads that correspond to value for money.

Gondwe said most road have low levels of sustainability because greater emphasis is minimising costs.

He said procurements are awarded to the lowest price bidder.

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“There is misconception among implementation agencies that the government purchases on the price alone. As such, many procurements are reportedly awarded to the lowest bidder rather than the least evaluated bidder where price and quality method of evaluation is emphasized,” Gondwe said.

The development comes as some sectors of the public continue questioning payment of what they deem sub-standard work and the effectiveness of the quality assurance systems within the road sector.

However, Gondwe was upbeat that the situation would will improve.

Meanwhile, Gondwe said, Roads Funds Administration will start constructing a road user toll fee collection centre to ensure that funds are available for roads maintenance.

“All is set for construction of the plaza to begin. We acquired a plot at Chingeni and compensations have already been done. Soon construction will begin. Once completed, we will be able to obtain funds that will help finance construction and rehabilitation of our roads,” he said.

Zambia National Road Fund Agency Chief Executive Officer, Wallace Mumba, hailed the plan, saying Zambia is reaping the gains of such initiatives.

“We rolled on the initiative in 2013 and we reaping the gains. We have managed to collect more than $300 million which is channelled to construction and rehabilitation of the roads. I commend that Malawi should so as to finance its projects,” he said.

Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Namibia patronised the meeting.

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