Zambia's SPORTS minister Vincent Mwale says the government is scrutinising the K294 million Mongu Stadium contract as it is too expensive for a 20,000-seater facility.
And Parliament heard on Tuesday that Wakong Enterprises and PJP Associates Limited, who are the contractors engaged to jointly erect the stadium are demanding K59 million to move on site.
Responding to concerns raised by opposition backbenchers on the reasoning behind the signing of such an expensive contract for a small stadium, Mwale said the government was reviewing the whole issue.
Kalabo Central UPND member of parliament Chinga Miyutu wondered whether the initial amount would suffice to complete the stadium, to which Mwale responded in the negative.
“It’s true that time has passed since this contract was awarded to the contractors. I know that obviously the prices for things like cement and other materials have escalated but I must mention here that the Ministry of Finance is really finding it hard to raise this money because even just the initial payment looks so huge,” Mwale said.
“I mean, K294 million, more than US$40 million for a 20,000-seater capacity stadium; I think that it’s so exorbitant.”
Mwale said his ministry was working out modalities of seeking a cheaper contractor for the project, even though it had already engaged those awarded.
Keembe MMD member of parliament Lieutenant-General Ronnie Shikapwasha wondered why the government did not sign the contract after securing funds, to which Mwale said the state had negotiated with the contractor, who had agreed not to move on site untill funds were secured.
“We have had challenges and the ministry has raised very serious questions of the pricing of this stadium. We are trying to get back to the contractors to look at the whole pricing and negotiate,” Mwale said.
Mafinga MMD member of parliament Catherine Namugala asked Mwale to be categorical, that the contract would be cancelled and a new one entered into, so as to save resources, but the minister said negotiations were ongoing with the substantive contractors.
“We have to wait for the negotiations to be concluded, we are not sure. We are going to lose money because we might get a better price after negotiations with the contractors,” he said.
And earlier, sports deputy minister Ronald Chitotela told the House that the contractors were demanding K59 million as initial payments to move on site.
Chitotela was responding to follow-up questions by Lubasenshi independent member of parliament Patrick Mucheleka and Miyutu over the matter.
He explained that the contract would run for 24 months after works resume.
“So far the contractors have issued a demand for down payment of K59 million. Once this money is paid, they will move on site,” Chitotela said.
He explained that the construction of the stadium would only resume once the government had sourced funds.
He said so far, over K300,000 had been spent on the project for bush clearing.
Kasempa MMD member of parliament Kabinga Pande asked why the government signed a contract without money, to which Chitotela said the project was launched in 2013 by late president Michael Sata even when it was not budgeted for - postzambia.com