CDEDI asks govt to develop policies to protect local construction firms


Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has asked government to come up with a deliberate policy to protect local construction companies from being wiped out of the market.

The Executive Director for the organization Sylvester Namiwa made the statement on Wednesday during a press briefing following the poor roads construction that were exposed by Cyclone Ana that the country experienced.

Speaking with reporters, Namiwa said CDEDI wrote the Road Authority (RA) demanding the disclosure of contractual disagreements and specifications for nine road project which includes Nsanje -Marka Road, Songwe-Karonga MI among others.

He said the RA has failed to make available the list of local companies that were subcontracted between 10 and 30 percent of each contract’s value, with proof of payment complete with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) receipts as proof that tax was paid for the same .

He said RA should intervene on the rates to make sure that local contractors work for a profit when subcontracted since the current rates do not even accommodate a break even.

“The current bidding system should be changed.The RA should be sanitized by removing those that were hired by politicians to advance political agendas. Let professionals that can defend their actions or inactions work on behalf of Malawians, and not foreign and political elements.

“The RA officials should not be allowed to get away with their deliberate mistakes that end up costing the taxpayers billions of Kwachas. A platform should be created for linkages among service providers and the RA to avoid cases of multiple contracts, duplication and or conflicts in the project implementation,” he explained.

He also said that after the tender opening, there is a need for an independent team of engineers to set engineers’ rates reflective of the real situation on the ground so that the subcontracting should be ready.

According to Namiwa, there is urgent need to revisit the project return periods in the face of climate change and heavy deforestation that forces rivers to change their course now and again.

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