CDEDI wants change in public infrastructure bidding system

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has asked government to change the bidding system for taxpayers’ funded projects in order to prevent abuse of funds.

The call comes amid CDEDI’s key findings from review of nine contracts awarded by the Roads Authority (RA) which the human rights-centered organisation carried out between April and June this year.

Presenting the findings this morning to journalists in Lilongwe, CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa recommended that RA officials should be penalised for their deliberate mistakes.

“The recent natural disasters in Malawi have exposed weaknesses of public infrastructure such as roads and bridges which is perceived by CDEDI and the entire general public to be due to poor workmanship at the implementation stage. Malawians have witnessed projects that were due for handover literally dissolving in rainwater.

The heavy downpour has laid bare something more than deep-rooted corruption, something that can best be described as a cartel starting from the way the projects are hatched, designed, all the way to the biding, awarding, implementation, and supervision process,” Namiwa said.

Namiwa singled out Nsanje-Marka and Songwe-Karonga M1 Roads as specific examples that have demonstrated incompetence by the responsible contractors.

He noted: “The less talked about financial discrimination is taking its toll in the construction industry in Malawi; From Marka (Nsanje) to Meru (Chitipa), everything is in the hands of Chinese firms.

The Chinese government sponsored companies are creating advantage and, in the process, killing the competition by quoting prices that are lower than the Engineers’ estimates.”

Roads Authority officials were not immediately available for comment.

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