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Rehabilitation of access roads in Pemba.
Cabo Delgado Contractors Association accuses the Mozambican government of favouring foreign companies for public works. Authorities say that the hiring of contractors respects the regulations.
Construction companies in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique, have complained of lack of access to public works procurement opportunities, accusing the government of favouring foreign companies, even in small contracts such as road maintenance.
Juvência Saísse, president of the Cabo Delgado Contractors Association (ASSECADE), argues in an interview with DW Africa that the government should create more business opportunities for construction companies in the region.
“Some countries are rushing to our country, which is now becoming fertile as regards opportunities,” she says. “As they are at a more developed stage in relation to us, when they present themselves, they show up with a robustness, more equipment and knowledge, and we end up being forgotten.”
“Lack of transparency” in awards
In addition to prioritizing foreign contractors, ASSECADE says there is a lack of transparency in the awarding of works – even when they go to Cabo Delgado companies.
“Companies that gets the contracts get them out by outsmarting the others,” says Dickson Davis, owner of a construction firm in Pemba. “Maybe because the developer knows it’s there … That’s why, many times, some companies do works without plates, without tenders, because of connections,” he says.
Responding to complaints from contractors, Cabo Delgado Provincial Director of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Venâncio Taimo, denied that there was any favouritism in the selection of contractors and said that his sector was strictly abiding by the public works contracting regulations.
“We have some examples, and not a few, of local contractors, including national contractors, who have works in the province. Unfortunately, some of these contractors do not honour their commitments. Some show weakness in that a small delay in paying an invoice causes a total stoppage of the works,” he relates.
Taimo recommends Cabo Delgado companies to submit quality technical proposals and to improve the provision of services in order to compete on an equal basis with other domestic and foreign firms.
Shortly after Cyclone Kenneth struck Cabo Delgado, the Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources met with construction companies in Cabo Delgado and promised that local companies would be favoured for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure – a promise that, in the eyes of the Cabo Delgado Contractors Association, is not being kept.
Taimo told DW Africa that post-cyclone reconstruction in the province had not yet begun, and that at present there are only localised interventions to ensure the normal functioning of public services, in projects mostly carried out by cooperation partners.
“With the understanding of the partner, it may be that he does the hiring himself. The partner does the hiring and we [the government] do the follow-up. We have some examples of partners who funded works in these terms, without the launch of a tender.”Source: Deutsche Welle
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