President Jakaya Kikwete has challenged contractors and construction stakeholders to name public officials demanding bribes as a condition for approving construction tenders.
Addressing a Contractors Registration Board consultative meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the president said the vice would continue wreaking havoc unless the corrupt officials are exposed and disciplinary action is taken against them.
He described corruption as the number one enemy of the country’s construction industry, as some 60 per cent of government revenue was spent on building projects.
“About 60 per cent of government revenue is spent on construction projects, an industry mentioned as among the most corrupt industries.
If serious steps are not taken to keep corruption out of this industry, the vice will continue eating the country and development will remain dormant,” the president pointed out.
He said because corruption was a game of giving and receiving and there was always someone giving and another receiving, it was important for the people to alert the government on both “and I will have no mercy on them”.
President Kikwete warned that the government would deal mercilessly with contractors failing to complete their work as scheduled and those executing public construction contracts poorly.
Action to be taken against underperforming contractors would include termination of contracts, followed by disciplinary measures, he said.
CRB Chairman Charles Kitwanga had earlier noted that Tanzanian contractors faced a number of problems, notably lack of capital, knowledge and equipment, and therefore found it hard to undertake huge construction projects.
He said the industry is yet to provide tangible gains to local contractors, with statistics showing that the construction market share has benefited foreign contractors a lot more.
A total of 4,940 (or a little over 96 per cent) of the 5,125 registered contractors in the country are Tanzanians, but they have managed to get only 30 per cent of the total revenue obtained from construction activities.
Kitwanga said the amount was from 2,715 construction projects undertaken last year. Local contractors were behind the implementation of 2,581 projects, which came to about 95 per cent of the total number, but they ended up with peanuts.
CRB Registrar Boniface Mhegi meanwhile explained that cumbersome and strict procedures made it near impossible for local contractors to win public construction tenders.
“We all know how poor local contractors are. How can they compete with their well-established foreign counterparts with huge capital?” he queried.
He said there was a need for the government to revisit tendering procedures and regulations, particularly those relating to public procurement, as a way of protecting local contractors.
Some months ago, President Kikwete promised to submit to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General’s office for action a list of names of dishonest customs department employees colluding with importers to evade tax.
He sounded the promise during a surprise visit to the Dar es Salaam port, where he also directed TRA boss Harry Kitilya to act against the culprits soon after receiving the names.
It has not been established whether the names have reached the revenue authority’s offices.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN