By Chisomo Phiri
Government has expressed concern over the delay to complete renovation works at Lilongwe City Council Rest House which has been closed for 15 years.
A visit by the Deputy Minister of Local Government Halima Daudi to the project site on Monday indicated that the construction works are delaying and aresubstandard.
Daudi asked the council to stay focused and act accordingly, saying the delay is affecting issues concerning revenue mobilisation and collection.
“Government is losing a lot of money in form of revenue mobilization and collection, worse still, the project site does not look attractive anymore.
“I argue the council to take a bold step in ensuring that all the contractors are completive enough. Those that fail to impress should have their contracts terminated,” said the Deputy Minister.
Mayor of the city council Juliana Kaduya said the Local Government Authority is following all the procedures before they terminate the service of East Motors, a contractor who was assigned to construct a new three story wing by demolishing the two old storey wing facility.
Kaduya explained that government closed the rest house in 2006 due to poor hygiene and she admitted that the council has failed to reopen the facility for operation thereby settling to privatize it in 2015.
“The privatization process was concluded in 2017 where East Motors Limited emerged the successful bidder to manage the rest house. The contractor signed a contract with the council in January 2018,” said Kaduya.
The Mayor said the contractor requested for a grace period of 18 months to finish construction from August 2020. According to Kaduya, despite the council approving the extension, the contractor is not performing.
“The council stopped the work because it was substandard and not compliant to the submitted building plans. The contractor was ordered to demolish the structures,” said the Mayor.
Before visiting the rest house, the Deputy Minister also ordered the council to review the existence of a statue at parliament roundabout and submit a report with recommendations to her.