NATIONAL Council for Construction (NCC) executive director Ernest Nshindano has called for frequent maintenance of roads, saying dilapidated roads affect economic growth.
In an interview, Wednesday, Nshindano also urged contractors who would be awarded contracts for road maintenance to ensure that the roads were done according to the designs and quality standards.
“I think that the authorities that are in charge of the roads need to improve the maintenance of the roads because if we are not maintaining the roads frequently then we will continue to have dilapidated roads, therefore, affecting the economic growth. We are hopeful but would like to urge the contractors that when the government gives them these contracts to maintain these roads that we must ensure that these roads are done according to the designs and according to the quality standards and to ensure that the government is not again spending unnecessary resources on these roads within a short period of time,” he said.
“So I think we need to [ensure that] drainages are properly done, we need to ensure that we use the right engineering materials and ensure that the roads are built according to engineering specifications. And as National Council for Construction, I think will not condone such kind of shoddy works by any contractors because the government really demands the value for money. You are aware that you have a huge road network and the co-road network which is most tarred, does not make the majority. The majority is the feeder roads. The majority is in the state of gravel and these basically require almost maintenance yearly and therefore there is need for the road authorities to ensure that there is a strategy.”
Nshindano insisted that there should be value for money in the maintenance works.
“I know the government is putting up strategies. Of course, the government has got other options in terms of maintaining the feeder roads. But we know that in maintaining these feeder roads, some of the resources under the CDF will be channeled towards maintaining some of the feeder roads in the local authorities’ jurisdiction. And therefore it is very important that they are prudent firstly in terms of the scope and quality of works that are being done to ensure that these roads must be maintained frequently, but we must make sure there is value for money and don’t spend on roads that were recently done,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nshindano said the public private partnerships (PPP) in road construction would help ensure that the government’s resources were able to cover other issues.
“We kept notice that a number of roads still need to be worked on and remember the road infrastructure basically has to be in a continuous state of maintenance and rehabilitation. So it is an ongoing process and the technicalities of these roads is that they connect markets to the farming areas and also to other supplies. So the bad state of these roads definitely increases the cost of doing business for example,” said Nshindano.
“I think what the government is doing I think for me is the fact that it is bringing in the private sector in terms of partnering with the government in the PPP models. I think that will be able to help us bridge the gap in terms of financial challenges in ensuring that the government’s resources are able to cover other issues. I think that move by the government is welcome by the National Council for Construction. Definitely, we need to improve the maintenance system.”