Monday, 22 October 2018

ROAD CONTRACTOR HAS PULLED OUT : MINISTER


THE Mberengwa-Mnene road reconstruction project has been stalled after the contractor allegedly pulled out and removed equipment from the site owing to cash flow challenges.

The road is part of the $19 million Mberengwa Road reconstruction and maintenance project.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza confirmed that the ministry was engaging new contractors for the project.

Eng Matiza said the contractor was facing cash flow challenges and decided to pull out. “The contractor removed equipment on site because he was facing some cash flow challenges,” he said. “We are currently looking for equipment from other contractors for the project, but work has now resumed.

“The road will not be completed before the beginning of the rain season not because of the delays, but the scope of the current works is to surface 14km and by the end of the year, the target is to have completed half of the work.

“In awarding contracts, we award to deserving contractors, but in the process of construction, we have no jurisdiction or powers to manage their finances. Some are able to manage their finances and cash flows throughout the project, but some unfortunately are not able to do so.

“Our recourse to such an incident is that if a contractor defaults or is not able to finish or withdraws from the contract, we will have to get another one in which case we have done the same.” 

Eng Matiza said Government was contemplating capacitating the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED) and stop relying excessively on external contractors.

“It is worth noting that as road construction projects continue to increase, we are likely to reach equipment market shortage,” he said. “A possible solution would be to seek ways to increase capacity and not rely excessively on external contractors.

“This can be pursued by capacitating CMED through Zinara or fiscal funding and by putting provisions in our BOT’s for equipment capitalisation. CMED will then be responsible for equipment hire to the Department of Roads.”

Eng Matiza said Government had prioritised at least three roads in each province for the road infrastructure upgrading exercise.

“Our Members of Parliament are free to meet our provincial resident engineers who will give you a whole range of the roads there and their prioritisation.” Herald

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