Parliament has been told that the Kazungula Bridge project linking Botswana and Zambia has been adversely affected by cash flow difficulties emanating from the contractor not being timely and regularly paid by the employer.
The minister of Transport and Communication, Dorcas Makgato explained that the employer in this regard is the partnership of governments of Botswana and Zambia.
“Based on this difficulty, the contractor (Daewoo) has instituted his contractual rights to slow down, suspend works and possibly terminate the contract; if the employer does not correct the situation by paying, and demonstrating a capacity to timely pay henceforth,” Makgato said.
“Effective Monday March 18, 2019, the contractor has given formal notice of suspension of works on the main aspect of the bridge.”
Makgato said the action would primarily affect Package 1; being the bridge itself, and extension delays in dealing with Package 1 will adversely affect Packages 2 and 3; being the One Stop Border Posts in Botswana and Zambia.
She said discussions were continuing regarding what the employer can do to remedy the situation, adding that this could only be resolved by the contractor being paid what was due and demonstrating how it would be sustained going forward.
The minister said the project faces highlighted risk of failure and demands appropriate and timely interventions.
“We are currently racing against a contractual 28-day correction period failing which the contractor will have a legitimate basis to give and effect a 14-day notice of termination,” she told Parliament. “I wish to assure this honourable house that Botswana Government is in active engagement with the Government of the Republic of Zambia with a view to correcting timely.”