Columnists Features

Developing Zambia through contract management, administration

JOSHUA BANDA

JOSHUA BANDA
WE all know that Zambia has 10 provinces. Let us quickly name them all; Lusaka, Copperbelt, Central, Southern, Eastern, Western, North-western, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga. The provinces are further divided into districts for administrative convenience.

The country is thirsty for development and has embarked on numerous socio-economic infrastructure developments. Let us collectively and closely review some selected projects which have the potential to fundamentally lift the face of Zambia if well-managed; upgrading of Lusaka-Ndola and the Ndola-Kasumbalesa roads to dual carriage ways, Kasomeno-Mwenda road connecting Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazungula Bridge, strengthening the Kafue Hook Bridge on the Lusaka-Mongu Road, which is believed that it will greatly enhance trade with Angola. All these projects require effective contract management and administration.

Put simply, contract management is the management of contracts entered into with contractors, consultants, suppliers or generally vendors. It is sometimes referred to as contract administration or customer lifecycle. This process ensures that there is compliance of terms and conditions of the contract by both parties. Contract management takes care of any changes, amendments or variations that may occur during implementation. Effective contract management and administration ensures that risks of non-performance of projects are mitigated.
Procurement professionals are required to assist in ensuring that all contracts are well-managed and executed.
Other projects which require effective contract management and administration include commencement of implementation of greenfield railway infrastructure projects such as the Chipata-Petauke-Serenje railway line, the Nseluka-Mpulungu railway line, the North-West railway line and the Livingstone-Sesheke railway line, some of which will be financed under the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) arrangement. Kenya has just successfully implemented its railway project. Who will implement ours if we don’t do it? To improve access to safe and clean drinking water in rural areas, Government in 2016 constructed 944 boreholes and rehabilitated 400 existing boreholes. Further, 11 small water schemes are under construction. These interventions have given 341,500 people access to a safe and clean water supply.
In addition, Government continues to promote community-led approaches to sanitation, which has resulted in about 760,000 people in rural districts having access to improved sanitation. The Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage Project; Lusaka Sanitation Programme; Kafue Bulk Water Supply Improvement Project; Kafubu Water Supply and Sanitation Project; and the Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company Project. Additionally, water supply and sanitation services will be improved in selected towns in Western, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces under the Integrated Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Programme.
In 2017, Government had targeted to increase access to clean and safe drinking water from the current 51 percent to 55 percent and access to sanitation from 44 percent to 47 percent in rural areas. This will be done through construction of 2,000, and the rehabilitation of 1,000 water points. Government will also continue to promote community-led approaches to sanitation and will construct 300 sanitary facilities.
This will include completion of the remaining 350 health posts. Work will continue on construction of 35 district hospitals. Further, higher level hospitals, namely the University Teaching Hospital, Ndola Central, Livingstone General, Kitwe Central and Arthur Davison Children’s Hospitals will be modernised.  Further, K1.0 billion is earmarked for various infrastructural projects such as schools, universities, colleges and trades training institutes; K267.5 million has been proposed for medical equipment and infrastructure as well as K769.1 million for drugs and medical supplies.
Without close monitoring, there would be sub-standard delivery of goods, works or services as most vendors have the tendency to relax in the execution of duties. This is where contract management and administration as well as project management become critical. The Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008, section 57 and The Public Procurement Regulations of 2011, Regulations 145 and 146 clearly provide guidelines on contract management.
If all parts of the country are to develop, controlling officers at provincial level must fully participate in the management and administration of contracts to ensure that all provinces are successfully implementing the projects being undertaken. Failure to do so will result in other provinces lagging behind where economic development is concerned while others will be advancing so well.
If schools and hospitals under construction are properly monitored, supervised, inspected and managed, especially infrastructure in the rural areas, quality education and medical attention would be guaranteed because it is such assistance which is desperately required. If roads are properly managed and monitored to completion, immense benefits would include easy transportation of maize to the market and quick transportation of agricultural inputs to the farmers across the country.
The Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS) conducted training under the same subject matter in order to build capacity and enhance socio-economic development in the country.

The author is chairperson for Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Zambia

 

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