MINISTER of Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development Charles Milupi says government will ensure transparency as it undertakes massive infrastructure development in the country.
And Italian Ambassador to Zambia Antonino Maggiore says the new dawn government is proving to the world that Zambia is one of the few countries in Africa with the best investment opportunities.
Speaking yesterday when ambassador Maggiore paid a courtesy call on him to invite him to the Italian Forum for Art and Architecture, Milupi said government would ensure that infrastructure projects which would be constructed were of quality and the right cost.
“We want to be very transparent in the way we take our infrastructure development. So there are three principles that guide us. We have diminishing resources and Zambia is potentially very rich but actually very poor and as such we have to look after the resources for the benefit of the people of Zambia. Therefore, one of our clarion calls as the new dawn administration is, first of all, we need to undertake as much infrastructure development as possible. Our country is big at 752,000 square kilometres with very little population, about 18 million. So we have communities scattered all over but they need to be interconnected,” Milupi said.
“That interconnection is infrastructure. So the three principles on how we are going to achieve this; we have to achieve it at the right cost. Over that, we will not shift, it has to be a right cost. We are not saying cheap, but we are saying it has to be at a right cost, not inflated cost. They also have to be of quality so that they last. Talking about Italian development, Kariba dam is still standing. That shows that the people who were involved in the construction did a quality job, otherwise from 1957 it will still not be with us today. And of course once we have agreed, it must be delivered on time so that we begin to utilize whatever infrastructure is done. So you will see that going forward there will be a lot of transparency. “
And Milupi said since the government had limited resources, it was aggressively pursuing Public Private Partnerships to undertake a number of infrastructure projects.
“Because we don’t have much money, we have aggressively embarked on a financing model for a number of infrastructure projects which we are calling PPP, Public Private Partnership. And by that, we are saying an investor/constructor takes up a certain road for example and they will do it within the cost that we have agreed, to the specifications that we have agreed. They will take it over for the period of time agreed, which is called a concession period and recover their costs and profit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Maggiore said the new dawn government was proving to the world that Zambia was one of the few countries in Africa with the best investment opportunities.
“The government guided by President Hichilema is already by itself showing the world how this work is seriously underway. I think what we are trying to underline to our companies there in Europe is how Zambia is engaging this and is one of the few opportunities that we have nowadays in Africa for partnership. And I think the new dawn government is proving over and over even in this first year how much these opportunities are there. Thank you for these indications and honourable minister, we will keep in touch on this because Italian companies can play a major role in this so we will try to get them here as much as possible,” said Ambassador Maggiore.