Zambian gov't defends purchase of fire fighting vehicles …
LUSAKA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — The Zambian government on Wednesday defended its decision to procure 42 firefighting trucks at a cost of 42 million US dollars, saying the tender was done in a transparent manner.
Last week, Vice-President Inonge Wina unveiled the new fighting trucks but the amount at which they were purchased has received a backlash, with critics and opposition political parties wondering why the government bought the trucks at 1 million dollars each.
But Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale said the procurement of the trucks was arrived at after an elaborate scrutiny of all bids and that fire-fighting experts involved in the procurement process requested specific fittings of the highest standards.
He said the company selected to purchase the trucks was picked after meeting the standards set by the experts out of the 16 bidders.
“The fire trucks we have procured are no standard trucks. They are custom-made, specifically to respond to the challenges that our fire men and women have been facing over the years in terms of the terrain and other operational areas,” he said in a ministerial statement presented in parliament.
He said it was unfair for stakeholders to accuse politicians of conniving with the firm that won the tender to inflate the price for their own benefits, adding that ministers were not involved in the whole process as it was purely undertaken by technocrats.
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