Thursday, April 2, 2009


A story that recently appeared in The Zambia Daily mail quoted the Minster of works and supply Mr. Mike Mungoloti saying that “GOVERNMENT is in the process of establishing an internal monitoring and audit unit under the Roads Development Agency (RDA), which will pursue contractors that fail to rehabilitate roads effectively……..has directed the RDA to terminate contracts for local and foreign contractors that fail to fulfill their obligations.”

The only question I have is “why is the government using foreign and local private contractors to construct roads instead of equipping our local councils to do this?

Furthermore, “RDA executive director, Erasmus Chilundika said reintroduction of advance payments to contractors was being addressed. Mr. Chilundika said once the practice was reintroduced, the agency would be strict in issuing advance payments to ensure that funds were utilized prudently by contractors.”
In other words, money is available to do the job but government stills opts to give such jobs to the private sector even when they have shown that they do not have sufficient operating capital. I believe in supporting local businesses but not at the expense of meaningful development.

For the past 15 years or so, the MMD government has failed to create jobs and they have said that free market policies and private sector investments will accomplish this. In my view they are doing this the wrong way. I believe that government should use its existing structures, with some much needed improvements, to drive development and create jobs. I am not advocating for a return to UNIP policies but there are ways to profitably put people back to work while at the same time upholding free market principles. Government cannot completely relieve its self from the role of creating jobs because it’s the only structure in our nation that is big enough to accomplish some big things.

For example Mr. Erasmus Chilundika also said “When you apply for advance payment, we will require you to specify what you want to acquire and we will make sure we follow you to verify if the equipment is bough.”

Wait a minute. Since when does government advance payments to private entities to buy equipment to do a job that they are being paid to do? I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised but if all the money given to contractors was used to equip local councils to construct roads and bridges, Zambia would have been investing in its short and long term development. Employment would increase, along with it a demand for goods and services which in turn will advance local economic development. However, this whole process would have been the result of a forward thinking leadership which Zambia lacks right now.


Denford said...

Recently discovered your blog and I love the thinking that goes into your posts.

It appears you and I are trying to do the same thing, you in Zambia and me in Zimbabwe.

This is why I am happy to pass on an Award I recently got, the Best Thinking Blog Award.

I myself do not normally do web awards unless there is meaning behind them, and this is one of them.

I hope you stop by my blog to pick it up: Denford Magora's Zimbabwe Blog

Anonymous said...

Campbell Lumbila hello, I have not posted in a while for just the fact that I was lazy. Not since the article on leadership and self drive derived from God have I commented. So how are you? Great articles.

LEDNA said...

Please take a look at our new Local Economic Development Network of Africa, it is free to join and dedicated to sharing knowledge and build capacity for LED in Africa. We have members already from 26 African countries including Zimbabwe and Zambia, but we need more, many more! Take a look and tell us what you think! Good luck to you all, and yes, job creation is not impossible! Gwen

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