Phalombe District Council has been asked to take issues of monitoring and evaluation of developmental projects seriously so that contractors should not be doing shoddy works.
The plea was made on Saturday during a virtual interface meeting which was organized by Phalombe Youth Arms Organization (PYAO) as youth leaders across the district were presenting their scorecard findings to the authorities.
Among others, the youth champions from four traditional authorities namely; Kaledzera, Kaduya, Mkhumba and Nazombe, in their findings revealed that negligence of council officers in supervision of the projects in the district is one of factors contributing to substandard works being done.
“It was sad that the Council officials especially from the Public Works department did not conduct the required monitoring of this construction project on all stages e.g. checking the site of the project, digging of the foundation, Concrete or slab level, window level, beam filling level, roofing level etc.
“This tendency has contributed to the substandard work being done by the contractors. The council should bear in mind that these building will be accommodating persons which there is need to make sure that the council is providing standard building to its people,” reads part of a report.
The youths focused on projects such as of construction of classroom block at Mambala Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Phalombe North Constituency, and construction of Mkhumba Resource Centre and classroom block at Minyenje CDSS in Phalombe South Constituency.
In all the projects, the youth leaders recommended that issues of feedback and mechanisms, monitoring and evaluation, and community engagements have to be addressed so as to enhance transparency and accountability and that contractors should be constructing standard infrastructures.
Member of Parliament for Phalombe North East constituency, Dennis Namachekecha, agreed to what the report says especially findings of issues pertaining the construction of the classroom block at Mambala CDSS where the contractor used substandard materials and constructed a block meant for primary school learners not for secondary school students
He, however, also agreed that there is need to have comprehensive supervision of developmental projects so that contractors should not be doing substandard works in the district.
“I agree to all the issues which have been raised, I want to ask our council secretariat to take matters of monitoring and evaluation very serious, we need to be getting durable works from the contractors,” he said.
In his remarks, Director of Planning and Development for the district, Eric Kenamu, insisted that the council does the monitoring and evaluation of the projects but he was quick to ask citizens to be engaging the council if they notice something.
“When you go to each project site you’ll see in the visitors’ book that we really do the supervision part, but my plea to people is that they should be channeling their concerns to the District Commissioner’s office so that they should be addressed,” said Kenamu.
In an interview PYAO Executive Director, Vincent Thom, said the objective of the project was to enable the service providers (District Council) to conduct a self-assessment of their delivery of projects and services in the district and also to improve interaction and feedback mechanisms between service providers and service users.
PYAO has implemented this Public Expenditure Tracking Project with funds from the National Democratic Institute (NDI).