The National Empowerment Forum has challenged Road Development Agency (RDA) to give details to the nation on how many local contractors have benefited from the 20percent subcontracting since it was introduced almost a year ago.
National empowerment forum executive director edgar siakachoma says recently, the nation witnessed the launch of the Finance Initiative (CFI ) where RDA signed an MOU with Finance bank to support citizen contractors with construction Finance in form of loans for plant and equipment .
Mr siakachoma says However, this initiative is meaningless in the absence of RDA and Foreign contractors’ willingness to effect the 20percent subcontracting policy.
He says the 20percent subcontracting policy was a very good idea to empower local contractors; however, the forum fears that lack of guidelines on who and how local firms can benefit will derail the whole initiative.
Mr siakachoma says To date his organisation has approached a number of Chinese contractors and other international firms who have been awarded these huge projects and have discovered that they are not following the 20percent subcontracting policy.
He says the country does not want to see a situation where the 20percent subcontracting becomes a reserve for the politically connected few who will muzzle their way to these Chinese firms leaving average Zambian contractors who have been struggling for years to close down.
Mr siakachoma says RDA has to come out with guiding procedures of how these projects will be allocated adding that Many Road Projects including the Chiawa road were awarded last year and up to now the main contractors China Geo has not engaged local subcontractors.
He adds that the large firms are now taking advantage of lack of guidelines and are busy finishing the project without engaging subcontractors.
Mr siakachoma says By the time they will be forced to engage subcontractors, most of the works to be subcontracted like culverts, bridges, drainage works etc will have been completed.
The organisation through Mr. siakachoma has challenged RDA to periodically announce the beneficially of the 20percent so that certain firms are the only ones getting all the projects at the expense of others.