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‘Local companies selling contracts’

NATIONAL Council for Construction (NCC) executive director Charles Mushota is concerned that local contractors are selling tenders awarded to them by Government to foreign companies.
Mr Mushota said some contractors are abusing the government policy, which requires that a minimum of 20 percent of all government-funded road contracts awarded by the Road Development Agency (RDA), local authorities and other government institutions should be executed by Zambian-owned companies.
“Sub-contracting has been abused by Zambian contractors. They sell back projects at a song,” he said.
Mr Mushota was speaking yesterday when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on communication, transport, works and supply.
He said the preferential statutory instrument number 36 of 2011 should be reviewed in order to omit the citizen-influenced scheme because it has been hijacked by foreign firms, thus defeating the objective of empowering local contractors.
And Mr Mushota submitted that some multi-million foreign companies are registering in Zambian names so that they can be considered for some works.
“Some of these companies, when you check their shareholders, they don’t even own a Toyota Corolla. They are mere fronts,” he said.
Mr Mushota said NCC has since stopped awarding grade three works to foreign companies.
Companies are graded from one to six with grade one being a company that undertakes unlimited works.
He said last year, NCC registered 4,641 companies, yet it is foreign-owned companies that get contracts.
Mr Mushota suggested that a training levy be introduced to facilitate capacity building of local contractors.

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