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Road construction deal progressive

YESTERDAY the National Road Fund Agency (NRF A) and Road Development Agency (RDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) to construct and rehabilitate roads in the country .This is a timely and progressive step towards further improvement and development of the road infrastructure in the country .The deal will also no doubt enhance sustainability of ZCS as well as uplift the welfare of inmates.NRF A chief executive officer Wallace Mumba has said the five-year partnership with ZCS will enable the country to improve and maintain road infrastructure despite having limited resources. In other words, doing more with less.It is particularly elating that the agreement entails utilising local resources to provide services that were for a long time dominated by for eigners.Engaging government institutions such as ZCS to take up such ventures will ensure sustainability for the institutions themselves as well as boost government coffers.Instead of financial resources being externalised through for eign contractors engaged to construct roads,the MoU will allow for financial resources to circulate within the Zambian economy .Needless to say , at a time that Government is constrained in terms of resources, this agreement will allow for access to quality road construction services at a much lower cost.Despite the limited resources, Government has an obligation to ensure development and maintenance of road infrastructure.This is because there can be no meaningful economic growth and development in the absence of good road infrastructure. Good road infrastructure is evidently critical to the efficient and effective movement of goods and services.It is good to note that through the agreement, rural roads will be developed which will subsequently improve accessibility to outlying areas and stimulate agricultural development, r
esulting in job creation in rural areas.This is in line with Government’s policy on job creation. RDA chief executive officer George Manyele rightly
notes that the primary feeder roads network in Zambia play a critical role to farming communities in rural areas.They help provide access to transportation for the movement of farm produce from farm sites to the market. ZCS deserves commendation for taking up the initiative to venture into road construction as is the case with Zambia National Service and other government institutions. Instead of looking up to Government for handouts, it’s good that ZCS is taking steps to financial sustainability .The correctional service has acquired all the necessary equipment to enable it to carry out roadworks competently .This is good and evidence of the service being ready to fulfil its part of the bargain.We also know that the ZCS
has access to abundant human resource that can be put to good use in this activity .The inmates can be more useful if empower ed with skills. It is good that through the agreement, NRFA and RDA have promised to provide the necessary capacity building to the inmates.This is also good for the inmates’ future. Many are the times when inmates are released from prison and they do not know where to start from, particularly those without education orskills.Through capacity building and engagement in road construction, the inmates will be useful beyond the prison gates.When they return to society ,they will be able to make positive contributions through the skills acquired while in prison.This will also help the correctional service to fulfil its mandate of reforming inmates and turning them into useful and productive members of society . Those tasked with the implementation of this agreement should live up to the public’ s expectations.Many are counting on them for success, which will be measured by the eventual benefits.