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NCIC challenges foreign firms

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By Mandy Pondani:

PHIRI— We have regulations

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) has faulted some foreign construction firms that are working in the country for not following regulations of the trade.

The council’s spokesperson, Linda Phiri, raised the sentiments in an emailed interview in response to concerns over the poor standard of the newly commissioned Karonga- Songwe Road.

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The road in question has developed over 100 potholes, attracting the ire of community members.

But Phiri said one of the contributing factors could be that most foreign contractors work in isolation.

“We have in place regulations that require foreign firms to operate in association with local firms through joint ventures, subcontracting and partnership in cases of consultancy services. This ensures [that] there is ownership as locals would be available to check the conduct of the foreign firms. Unfortunately some of them do not comply,” Phiri said.

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She, however, said the council promotes quality in its programmes.

“The NCIC advises all stakeholders to ensure that they do it [work] with due diligence when they are procuring services of foreign firms so that we don’t fall into such traps.

“The NCIC has also noted with concern that some foreign firms bring documentation in foreign languages which are not spoken or understood in Malawi, which complicates the monitoring system. As a result, the council is lobbying [stakeholders] to put [in place] regulations that require that all documentation should be translated into English,” Phiri said.

She added that NCIC had instituted regulations that require registration of all projects to facilitate proper monitoring of construction projects.

Apparently, the Roads Authority, through its spokesperson Portia Kajanga, has vowed to continue overseeing both local and foreign contractors to ensure that their designs adhere to standards.

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