Govt faced with shortages of project consultants

Sir Seretse Khama International Airport expansion project will be completed at the end of March 2015
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport expansion project will be completed at the end of March 2015

Members of Parliament say government must engage more projects consultants in a bid to improve the delivery of infrastructure undertakings.

Responding to the committee of supply speech delivered by the Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology (MIST), Nonofo Molefhi, the Shoshong MP, Phillip Makgalemele said there was lack of extensive consultation in the ministry because government infrastructure did not accommodate the latest architectural developments. “We need to increase the consultation services in this department, there is no extensive consultancy on projects that is why we see most projects failing,” he revealed.

Molefhi further said government was struggling to attract consultants and engineers because most of them preferred to join the private sector. “We do not have enough engineers and consultants because most of them have gone to the private sector and that is why we engage the private sector in our consultancy services,” he said.

MP for Goodhope-Mabule, James Mathokgwane said MIST had to devise an indigenous policy to empower citizen contractors. “Indigenous citizens are not benefiting from the citizen empowerment policy. The majority of contractors who benefit are naturalised citizens. We need to amend this policy,” he argued.

Mathokgwane also said in most government maintenance projects, only one company was mandated to do all the work. “This indicates a possible corruption issue because there are lot of contractors, but it is only one company which is always given the jobs, other companies should also benefit from government projects,” he said.

In his response, Molefhi said the ministry was still has challenges with both citizen and non-citizen contractors, but the government was doing its best to address the problem. “It is not our responsibility as the Ministry to award tenders, but various departments select their own contractors and the ministry just approves the selected contractor and this is done after engaging all consultants,” he said.

The proposed budget for the MIST was P546 million, which would be used for rehabilitation of government buildings, construction of the Science and Technology Park,  as well as Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) initiatives for the development of innovation and technology support programmes, construction of a permanent structure for disused radiation sources, and for Research and Development programmes.

Government building infrastructure and related services rehabilitation will take the largest share, an amount of  P287.2 million, 56 percent of the total development budget while an amount of P150 milion has been awarded to BIH.

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