HONE SIAME & KELVIN CHONGO, Solwezi
PRESIDENT Lungu yesterday launched the long-awaited K1 billion rehabilitation of the Chingola-Solwezi road with a stern warning to contractors against doing shoddy works.
Government, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), has awarded contracts to China Geo and Buildcon Investments Limited to rehabilitate the Chingola-Solwezi road.
President Lungu said Government will not accept substandard works on the project and directed the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications and RDA to ensure that the contractors do a good job through effective supervision.
The President was speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of the 168km road at St Dorothy in Solwezi.
â€œIt is Governmentâ€™s expectation and desire that the construction of this road will be undertaken within the project duration. And because this road provides a vital link to mining houses and other economic activities in the province, we expect the quality of works to be of international standard.
â€œGovernment is spending a colossal sum of money on this road and we must ensure that the new road stands the test of time. We will not accept premature failure or substandard works on this project,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He also urged the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications and RDA, as implementing agencies, to ensure Zambian contractors are sub-contracted on the Chingola-Solwezi road project in line with Governmentâ€™s 20 percent sub-contracting policy.
â€œThe rehabilitation of this road will provide an efficient transportation system to support copper mining and other economic activities between Copperbelt and North-Western provinces. It is a well-known fact that North-Western province is home to large mining houses such as Kansanshi Mines and Lumwana Mines.
â€œThe province also boasts of other economic activities such as agriculture and tourism which will also greatly benefit from the improvement of this road. Once completed, the safety of motorists and other road users will be enhanced while travel time to and from Solwezi will be reduced tremendously,â€ Mr Lungu said.
The President also said vehicle operating costs associated with the poor state of roads will be significantly reduced.
He said Government intends to construct a dual carriageway between Chingola and Mutanda in Solwezi to cater for the forecasted increase in traffic.
â€œGovernment is thus looking into alternative financing and implementation models to ensure that this project is undertaken expeditiously. The general public and citizenry will be informed of these developments as they unfold,â€ President Lungu said.
He urged the people of North-Western and Copperbelt provinces to support the contractors as they carry out rehabilitation works.
â€œIncidents of vandalism, which have been recorded in other parts of the country where roads have been constructed, should be avoided as such acts merely serve to reverse the gains that Government has made in improving road infrastructure,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He also urged all citizens regardless of political affiliation to partner and work with Government to deliver national development.
The Chingola-Solwezi road project will be executed within 24 months with China Geo carrying out works on lot 1 and lot 3 while Buildcon Investment will work on lot 2.
North-Western Province Minister Dawson Kafwaya said people in the province are grateful to Government for fulfilling its promise to rehabilitate the road.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Mutaba Mwali assured President Lungu that the ministry will closely supervise the two contractors to ensure that a good job is done.
â€œIt is a relief for us to see the start of the long-awaited rehabilitation of this important road. The road has been carefully designed to accommodate heavy vehicles going to the mines,â€ Dr Mwali said.
Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Christabel Ngimbu, who is also Zambezi West member of Parliament, said the road will accelerate economic development and improve the lives of the people of North-western when completed.
The colourful ceremony was witnessed by Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge, his permanent secretary Howard Sikwela, North-Western ProvinceÂ permanent secretary Amos Malupenga,Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe, senior chief Kalilele, chief Mujimanzovu and chief Kanyama among others.
Others were RDA chief executive officer Kanyuka Mumba and his Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) counterpart Zindaba Soko.
And BUTTYSON KANDIMBA reports that President Lungu has commissioned the construction of 20.5 kilometres of township roads in Solwezi and warned that he will discipline anyone intimidating or frustrating North-Western Province Minister Dawson Kafwaya in the execution of his duties.
Speaking during the commissioning of the road works in Solwezi yesterday, President Lungu said he has received reports that some people in the region are undermining Mr Kafwayaâ€™s authority.
The President said he is ready to work with all the people irrespective of where they hail from as long as they share the same vision with him of transforming the country into a better place for all.
â€œIn PF, that is what we stand for, and we are not ashamed when we say â€˜One Zambia, One Nationâ€™ because we want to run Government on merit,â€ he said.
President Lungu warned Patriotic Front (PF) members in North-Western Province to stop intimidating and harassing people he has co-opted in his administration from opposition political parties.
â€œNo language is superior to the other in Zambia and everyone must feel free to live and work from anywhere within the country because we are one people,â€ President Lungu said.
He also assured that the countryâ€™s resources will be shared equally.
President Lungu said his administration has signed a deal with the Chinese government to supply 4,000 solar-driven milling plants to be set up across the country to help reduce the price of mealie-meal.
President Lungu said despite the many development projects government is implementing countrywide, there is a lot of bad faith on the part of his detractors and critics.
HONE SIAME & KELVIN CHONGO, Solwezi