13th. August, 2019
The Engineering Council met the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Hon. Vincent Mwale, MP., at his Office in Lusaka today, 13 August 2019. The Minister invited the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) as part of the regular and early consultations, as he settles and is inducted in the new portfolio. EIZ delegation comprised the President (Eng. Sydney M Matamwandi), the three Vice Presidents (Eng. Eugene Haazele, Eng. Wesley Kaluba and Eng. William Mulusa), the Acting Registrar (Eng. Rev. Happy Musumali) and EIZ Communications Officer (Mrs. Cynthia Ngwengwe). The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Eng. Charles Mushota, and two Directors were also present.
Eng. Matamwandi thanked the Minister for an early invitation of the Institution to see the Minister as he begins a new tour of duty. He briefed the Minister on the statutory composition and functions of EIZ as a regulator and apprised him on the status of EIZ as an association of members whose common interest is the welfare of Engineering Professionals, Engineering Students and Engineering Organisations or Units.
In his response, the Minister assured EIZ of the support of the Ministry and the constant consultation with the Institution in searching for solutions. He pointed out that the Ministry would prioritise the search for solutions to the problem of infrastructure projects that, are on average, more costly than comparable projects elsewhere. He cited the construction of roads and schools in Zambia as too expensive and challenged EIZ to identify the problem and recommend solutions. On payment of Zambian suppliers, Zambia contractors and Zambian consultants, his Ministry would be sensitive, committed and transparent to source money and clear arrears. He however, acknowledged that liquidity was a challenge because government had contracted a lot of projects and the problem of high costs had constrained the Treasury’s capacity to pay stakeholders on time. As regards construction materials, the Minister challenged EIZ to promote local materials, including steel, cement, paints and chemicals and discourage contractors from importing expensive materials from abroad, consequently denying local manufacturers from benefiting from the infrastructure growth. On the Africa Engineering Conference, Hon. Mwale pledged to promote the event and encourage all stakeholders from GRZ and the private sector to attend this important event. It was the priority of government to encourage knowledge sharing, common resolution of problems and the presence of participants from abroad was good for tourism.
In response, Eng. Matamwandi assured the Minister that the Institution would engage members and come up with problem identification as to why projects, especially are too costly in Zambia and make tangible proposals to be presented to the Minister.