Performance contracts for contractors key for development – ZNCC
By Edward Mukaro
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has implored the Government to set performance contracts for contractors, to enable timeous completion of projects.
With the country’s road network having been declared a state national disaster, earlier in the year, ZNCC has been worried by the snail pace at which contractors have been conducting their business on the countries major highways, paying particular attention to the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway.
“The project is behind schedule, with 180.45 kilometers of the 2020 target of 200km now open to traffic. The failure to achieve the 2020 target casts doubt on the achievement of the 2021 200km target.
“There is a need for Government to create performance contracts for the contractors with clear deliverables. Under the current arrangement, each of the five (5) contractors is given a 20km stretch to work at a time, being given another 20km stretch once they finish the previous one,” said the chamber.
Furthermore, the chamber lamented the failure by the Mid-Term Budget Review to; “…indicate specific interventions meant to expedite the completion of this very important corridor, especially in light of the absence of the railway alternative.”
Infrastructure in Zimbabwe has been deteriorating over the last two decades. This has resulted in Zimbabwe being ranked number 127 out of 138 countries in the Infrastructure Index under the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report.
As a solution to rid off contractors who fail to meet set targets, the chamber implored authorities to cancel contracts and replace them with able firms that have been engaged.
“We recommend that if a contractor fails to meet targets for two consecutive stretches owing to inefficiency and incompetency, they must lose their contract to capable higher performers already engaged for the project.
“Getting an outsider might be costly and time-consuming, assuming that the contractors are recruited after a thorough vetting process. However, if new contractors become necessary, due process should be followed as they engaged.
While cognizant of the adverse effects of the pandemic on progress, ZNCC noted that the subdued traffic due to lockdowns also presents an opportunity for the acceleration of works, and contractors should take advantage thereof.
The National Development Strategy 1 notes that over the past two decades, transport infrastructure has deteriorated as a result of long periods of inadequate maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading. Of the total estimated 84,000 km of road network, equivalent to 93% of the network is in fair or poor condition and in need of rehabilitation or periodic maintenance.
“In this regard, the NDS1 will target to increase the number of kilometres of road network converted to meet Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC) standards from 5% to 10% by 2025 and to increase the number of kilometres of road network in good condition from 14 702km to 24 500km by 2025.