OPPOSITION Leader Hon Matthew Wale has highlighted the need for reasonable quality infrastructure in roads, bridges, wharves, airstrips and public amenities.
In his recent Budget Debate Speech, Hon Wale said the Government does not have the resources to meet all the infrastructure needs in the country.
Therefore, he said it must be prioritized.
He said to prioritize infrastructure needs; the government must adopt a transparent set of guidelines and rules that apportions weight based on economic as well as social considerations in determining which projects make the priority list.
“Of course, there will always be political considerations to take into account. But to make politics the overriding determining factor for prioritization of infrastructure projects is neither good nor strategic, and is likely to result in poor quality expenditure,” he said.
Hon Wale said the quality of workmanship and therefore poor quality outcomes continue to mark infrastructure investments by the government.
He said there is need to strengthen the technical capacity of contractors to ensure quality work and the need for the procurement system to eliminate poor quality contractors over time.
“The re-establishment of provincial PWDs needs to be fast tracked. These units need to be adequately equipped and trained to be responsible for the regular upkeep of provincial roads, bridges, airstrips & wharves,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said the technical capacity of the MID is overstretched for the workload funded in the 2022 budget, to say nothing of the broader infrastructure needs.
He said this has a significant bearing on all the issues affecting budget outcomes.
As part of the 2022 Budget, $12m is for the National Transport Initiative programme, comprising of and increase in number of shipping vessels in 2022 and procurement of plant & machineries.
Poor quality infrastructure is the result of underinvestment, underfunding, poor procurement systems, design issues, lack of robust timely inspections and accountability,” he said.
Hon Wale said MID needs the technical capacity to consistently maintain high standards for infrastructure in the country.
“Government must invest in MID’s technical capacity. This budget underinvests in infrastructure. But even with this underinvestment, ministry capacity is a clear bottleneck for effective execution,” the Opposition Leader said.