Engineering Insitution of Zambia (EIZ) vice-president for finance and administration Abel Ng’andu has refuted media reports quoting him as having said “local engineers have been failing to secure construction jobs because they are dull”.

Clarifying his statement when he called News Diggers today, Ng’andu who is also proprietor of the Ng’andu Consulting Limited said he was only expressing his worry on the fact that the skills gap had continued to disadvantage Zambian engineers from getting jobs in the construction industry.

According to his explanation, Ng’andu made this pronouncement during an EIZ business meeting held in Kitwe to address some of the challenges faced by local engineers and how best the institution could help them.

“I have noticed that there have been misquotations in some sections of the media arising from the EIZ business meeting we had in Kitwe on Tuesday. However, the correct position is that the skills gap between foreign and local engineers has continued to disadvantage our local engineers from getting some jobs in the construction industry because they are lacking certain construction skills. We have serious crisis in the area of skills development and we need is serious mentorship so that these engineers can also be able to undertake most of the construction projects being implemented by government such as schools, stadiums and other state-of-the-art infrastructure that we are seeing around,” Ng’andu explained.

And Ng’andu regretted that most of the government construction projects were being given to foreign contractors and not local firms, while emphasizing the fact that it was not because Zambian engineers were incompetent.

“Right now, about 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the money government is putting in the construction sector just goes to foreign contractors and this is not because our local contractors are incompetent but because they lack certain skills. Therefore, we need to retain this money in our economy for us to achieve sustainable economic growth in our country,” Ng’andu said

Ng’andu also said there is need to introduce mentorship programmes for engineers that graduate from various institutions of higher learning in order to equip them with practical skills that would prepare them well to meet the needs of the construction industry.