Works resume at abandoned projects
By Deogratias Mmana:
A month since we published a story on abandoned school projects, construction works have resumed after government has renegotiated with contractors who now have four months to finish the works.
Government has given them this period so that the schools can be opened at the start of the next school calendar later this year.
In March this year, our sister paper Malawi News brought to the fore four primary school projects that were abandoned by the government in 2020. These were Ng’ombe, Mgona, Kaliyeka and Chidzingwe in Lilongwe.
Times visited one of the schools, Ng’ombe Full Primary School in Area 38 Monday and found works in progress. The works included construction of rumps and finalising classroom lockers.
Both Ministry of Education officials and one of the contractors, Union Building, confirmed the resumption of the works at Ng’ombe, Mgona and Kaliyeka full primary schools.
Regional Manager for Union Building Contractors, Kim Kamau, said the works resumed on April 25, 2023 and that he is expected to hand over the infrastructure in four months.
“We received an advance payment to start the works and we will be claiming some more as we go.
“And they will have to revise some of the conditions in the contract because prices of materials have gone up by more than 200 percent since the contracts were signed,” Kamau said in an interview Monday.
He added that the remaining tasks include construction of drainages, rumps for the classes, toilets for the staff and administration block and also ceiling, wiring and plumbing for teachers’ houses.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Mphatso Nkuonera said the ministry negotiated with the contractors to resume the works.
“The ministry is happy to note that the contractors are mobilising back to sites and have submitted their claims for the works done while others have submitted working capital advance bonds, both of which the ministry is processing,” Nkuonera said.
He admitted that the works stalled due to contractual obligations.
According to the Ministry of Education, construction works have also resumed at other several school projects across the country.
Country Director for Edukans Limbani Nsapato has said journalists have an important role to play in following up on public projects whose works stall.
“Our message to the government is to stop politicising education projects. This issue should be a wake-up call for the ministry to take stock of all abandoned projects and complete them timely,” Nsapato said Monday.