VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
ACTING President Inonge Wina says there is need to promote a trend where Zambians are awarded contracts as lead consultants but bring in requisite expertise from foreigners.
Mrs Wina said doing so would be one sure way to grow the local industry through sustained workloads and appropriate transfer of skills and expertise.
â€œEven as the local consultants are considered for these contracts, it should not merely be a question of satisfying the local market, but this should be made on merit,â€ Mrs Wina said.
The acting President was speaking when she officiated at the Golden Jubilee of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Zambia (ACEZ).
She said consulting engineers have provided the highest level of technical advice to various sectors in fostering development in Zambia.
â€œThe country is going through a critical phase in its development. This, therefore, calls for a reliable and functional infrastructure base in the agriculture, tourism, transport, mining, roads, water, manufacturing and social sectors,â€ Mrs Wina said.
She said in view of the urgent need to address the infrastructure needs, it will be necessary to simplify upstream procedures such as procurement and feasibility assessment so that projects are quickly implemented.
Mrs Wina said critical to the development is a close harmonised relationship between project promoters led by Government, technical and professional advisors, who are the consultants, and project implementers as contractors.
She said there is a huge backlog of maintenance against a backlog of new infrastructure in areas of the country that still need to be opened up.
The acting President said the inclusiveness will also ensure specific needs of the country are clearly articulated and covered in the agreements.
And Mrs Wina said Government is deeply concerned with sub-standard projects being delivered.
And, earlier, ACEZ chairman Charles Haanyika said the association is fully aware of the current challenges the country is facing in the transport, energy, water and other sectors of the economy.
Mr Haanyika said the association would continue working closely with Government to help resolve the problems.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka