Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
THAT the Ministry of Local Government has entrusted the Zambia National Service (ZNS) with the task of constructing one bus station and two public markets is a significant gesture to the local economy.
Last Wednesday, Government engaged ZNS to complete the construction of the K1.5 million Down UB market in Mansa, Luapula Province.
When he signed the agreement with ZNS in Lusaka, Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga expressed happineness that the contract to complete the Mansa market has finally been concluded.
Mr Malupenga said his Ministry has been under pressure to complete the works and hopes that ZNS will speedily move on site to undertake the assignment.
This is the second market ZNS has been tasked to complete, the other being the Livingstone Market. ZNS will also complete the construction of the Intercity Bus Terminus.
ZNS has been tried and tested. The military wing has never failed any of the tasks it has been entrusted with.
ZNS has in the recent past constructed bridges, airstrips and clinics at the request of the State.
Early this year, ZNS handed over the Kaunda Square Stage II market after successfully completing its construction.
That is why ZNS Commandant Nathan Mulenga assured that his men and women will execute the project timely.
Lieutenant General Mulenga said the required personnel has been put on standby to proceed with the works as soon as funds are received.
The Down UB market in Mansa involves the construction of a market shelter and an ablution block
Awarding the contract to ZNS is significant as it gives the institution to yet again build a reputation for itself and position itself to handle both private and public projects.
Copperbelt University lecturer in marketing and entrepreneurship Moffat Chawala said the gesture by Government to award the contract to ZNS to build a market in Mansa is significant in several ways.
“Firstly, it is local empowerment and the monies will remain in Zambia. Secondly, Government has invested massively in buying road construction equipment for ZNS and in building their human resource capacity. This investment won’t go to waste through gestures such as this,” Mr Chawala said.
Beyond retention of money in the economy, the three contracts awarded to ZNS (two in Livingstone and one in Mansa) will be critical for skills generation.
While men and women in uniform will gain the much-needed skills, the local people in areas where ZNS will be undertaking these projects will also benefit from skills transfer.
This will be besides employment creation and the spending power which will have a multiplier effect in communities.
It will also save as a cost-saving method for Government as well as revenue generation for ZNS.
The gesture by the Ministry of Local Government will also entail expending of military energy into productive avenues, and lessening mischief such as social ills and vices such as excessive drinking.
The Ministry of Local Government has set the pace by engaging ZNS for its public infrastructure.
It is a perfect endorsement in ZNS’s abilities to deliver quality works.
Other ministries may emulate Local Government by engaging not only ZNS but the Zambia Army and the Zambia Correctional Service to ensure that money is retained in the economy to generate jobs and help alleviate poverty.
That Government has been falling back on ZNS for contingency means that the military wing will always be in the mode of preparedness for rescue and rebuilding in events of disaster.
Government has also lived to its word by involving the military in economic diversification.
ZNS is usually associated with agriculture, yet it also has a robust engineering department.
The onus is now on ZNS to live to its billing by delivering the quality work it is acclaimed for – timely.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO