By NANCY MWAPE
THE Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) has shortlisted six local and foreign companies to build ZICAâ€™s US$300 million multi-purpose conference facility and five-star hotel in Livingstone.
Early this year, ZICA commissioned a 48-hectare land in Livingstone for the construction of the convention centre with 2,000 sitting capacity and a five-star hotel at a cost of US$300 million.
In an interview, ZICA chief executive officer Hapenga Kabeta said two of the shortlisted foreign firms are coming from Kenya and South Africa while the remaining four are joint ventures.
Mr Kabeta said the proposed construction of the multi-purpose facility was progressing well.
â€œWe are at the first stage of the project, inviting architectural firms to submit expressions of interest.
Eight expressions of interest where received, and six shortlisted,â€ he said.
He said the shortlisted firms are required to develop concept drawings and the next phase would involve carrying out feasibility studies for the development of the project and evaluate whether it is viable.
â€œThis is supposed to be completed before the end of September. Once the studies are completed, we shall go through another process of financial advisory service,â€ he said.
Mr Kabeta said the project had attracted interest from developers and financiers who are positive of recovering their money considering that Livingstone is a tourist capital.
Livingstone has shortage of conference facilities.
Mr Kapeta said ZICA would be happy to partner with Government to address the deficit in conference and hospitality services in Livingstone.
He said construction of the facility is expected to start next year and finish by 2016.
â€œIf we cannot have money to develop the whole project, we should be in position to build a dome, put up kitchen facilities and hold our meetings from there,â€ he said.
Mr Kabeta said the project was not for ZICA but a contribution to the tourism facilities in Livingstone.
â€œIn an effort to enhance the self-sustainability of the institute, we have continued making appropriate investments in securities and real estate. This facility here will not only add value to the people of Livingstone but also help with job creation,â€ Mr Kabeta said.
By NANCY MWAPE