TIMBER ASSOCIATION SAYS PROCUREMENT OF SCHOOL DESKS UNDER CDF A SCANDAL
By Michael Kaluba
The Timber Association of Zambia has charged that the procurement of desks for schools under the Constituency Development Fund-CDF- is a scandal, because the bulk of these are dominated by council workers, political party cadres, and other government insiders.
Association President Charles Masange has warned that the desks being supplied to schools costing roughly K1,200 per piece are sub-standard and would not endure compared to those that would cost between K2,200 and K2,500.
According to Mr. Masange, the contracts were handed to undeserving entities who have been subcontracting cheap Labour, do not understand the timber sector’s requirements for desks, and are making desks to fulfil delivery quantity rather than quality.
He has urged relevant authorities to take keen interest in the issue, particularly given that government’s contract offer price is K2,350 per desk, but contractors are supplying the desks after subcontracting cheap labor for k1,200 per piece thereby duping the state through the CDF.
Mr. Masange notes that due to corruption in the contract awarding procedure, many skilled and professional desk producers have been sidelined in various parts of the country.
But Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local government, Mambo Hamaundu says while the assertion by Mr. Masange is of concern, he must report the corrupt officials to the Anti-Corruption Commission for action.
Mr. Hamaundu says without Mr. Masange providing names, it can be concluded that he is being speculative or making assertions with a vested business interest after a deal he was involved in failed.