SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Projects Implementation and Monitoring, Andrew Chellah is absolutely in order to direct contractors who have abandoned projects for unexplained reasons to immediately return to site or risk facing the law. Regretably, it has become common for contractors, especially local companies to either abandon projects soon after getting a down payment, or carry out substandard works. But this is not as it should be. This does not only dent the government’s image but deprive Zambians the right to enjoy quality services. This is very serious especially that the contractors, be it local or foreign, are aware of the inevitable need to adhere to ethics and regulations governing the execution of projects. Abandoning projects or carrying out shoddy works amounts to theft and we totally agree with Mr Chellah that incompetent contractors who fail to return to site should be dragged to court for prosecution. Mr Chellah’s impromptu visit to various construction sites in Shibuyunji where he found that contractors had either abandoned the projects or took too long to complete them is distressing, to say the least. According to Mr Chellah, the contactors had abandoned the projects because of poor work ethics or incompetence after they were paid the money. We submit that the state should seriously deal with contractors found wanting to serve as a deterrent to other contractors who may be planning on deserting the projects. It is shameful that local contractors are the major culprits when it comes to abandoning projects or doing shoddy works once they are paid yet they are the ones crying the loudest that contracts are only given to foreign firms. While it is true that there has been a growing tendency to award contracts to foreign companies at the expense of local ones, locals have themselves to blame. It would seem local contractors are only interested in the money as opposed to doing top-notch works of international standards. With this kind of unethical conduct, who is to blame if most of the major tenders are awarded to international companies which offer quality services? Of course we are mindful of the fact that not all foreign companies are perfect, no. Like some local contractors, some foreign firms are in it for the money and personal aggrandisement and as a result have failed to perform. We urge local contractors in particular to up their game and stop wasting hardearned taxpayers’ money. Given what happened in Shibuyungi, we salute Mr Chellah for taking to task those contractors found wanting. But warnings alone merely fall on death ears. Government should play hardball and deal ruthlessly with inept contractors who are giving government a bad image. What happened to the idea of blacking inept contractors? Perhaps this is the time to revisit this intervention.