Indigenous Construction Contractors Association has given the Roads Authority (RA) 14 days to refund money they paid to process bid documents for road and bridge contracts for the 2021/22 financial year.
In a letter dated November 23 2021 signed by the association’s chairperson Alex Chimwala, the local contractors said failure to meet their demands within the given timeframe will compel them to hold vigils at all RA offices nationwide.
Reads the letter in part: “We have noted with regret that since contractors bid for the road and bridge maintenance programme [phase 1: 2021-2022 financial year] over six months ago, successful bidders have not been awarded the works.
“According to the bidding schedule, the bid validity of 120 days expired on October 6 2021. However, to date, no communication has been made to the contractors on the status of their bids.”
The 104 bidders paid K20 000 each as non-refundable fees with contract amounts ranging from K50 million to K1 billion.
In an interview yesterday, Chimwala said they want the authority to release all the contracts, especially now that the country’s roads are already in a bad state and the rainy season is about to start.
But in a separate interview, RA board chairperson Joe Ching’ani said the contracts are now handled by Ministry of Transport and Public Works.
He said: “The board handed them [the bids] over a month ago. It seems the vetting process is still in progress.”
Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson Ganizani Liwewe could not be reached on his mobile number while Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works Nancy Mdooko was yet to respond to our questionnaire.
In total, the RA issued 104 contracts for works in all the three regions.
By breakdown, 28 were awarded for civil works in the Northern Region, 45 for civil works in the Central Region and 31 for civil works in the Southern Region.
In April this year, the RA advertised for bids to take part in various civil works that include sectional periodic maintenance and shoulder reconditioning of paved roads, rehabilitation of unpaved roads, pothole patching and edge repairs on paved roads.
The civil works also include road centre and edge lines marking on paved roads, roads signs replacement and markings, accident spots improvement intervention measures, repair of major damage structures, spot repairs and drainage improvement works on trunk roads and replacement of timber and Bailey bridges with concrete deck.