Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama has disclosed that government is yet to identify a contractor for the construction of Mzuzu Youth Centre.
The minister was addressing members of Parliament during Parliamentary deliberations on Monday in Lilongwe.
He said: “In the 2020/21 financial year, strides were made in the procurement process of a contractor. The project was tendered and the evaluation process was done to identify the successful bidder.
Msungama: There was a stalemate
“The contract negotiations started with the lowest evaluated bidder, unfortunately, the contract negotiations did not yield any results.”
Msungama said the lowest evaluated bidder and the ministry could not agree on some terms and conditions of the contract and following the stalemate, the ministry sought guidance from the Office of the Solicitor General and the Government Contracting Unit who opined that the negotiations had failed and the ministry should consider restarting the procurement process.
The project was introduced in the 2012/13 financial year and over the years, it has been appearing on annual budgets, but the minister said allocated funds went towards preparatory works due to changes in project sites.
Said Msungama: “The first project site was in Katoto. During that financial year, the main focus was preparatory work such as carrying out of topographic surveys, preparing drawings and also bills of quantities to enable the ministry to hire a contractor.
“Over the years, the project has been to three other sites, namely the Reserve Bank of Malawi location behind Katoto Secondary School and finally the current site behind Grand Palace Hotel.
“The frequent changes on the project site entailed that every time a new site is identified, the preparatory activities have to start all over again because the sites were different in size and that the buildings that were designed for site A could not automatically fit on site B.”
As per his assurance to the House, the project was re-advertised yesterday.
The project was conceived to provide young people in Mzuzu and the Northern Region in particular, a modern facility which would house a technical and vocational training centre, conference centre as well as in-door and out-door sports and recreation amenities.
In June this year, Mzuzu Youth Association held demonstrations over the delays in implementing the project but the minister then said the demonstrations were unnecessary because government was working on the matter.