• October 14th, 2019

Construction council to curb shoddy workmanship - CIF

WINDHOEK - The Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) has called on lawmakers to come up with a legislation establishing the National Construction Council.

CIF says the council will ensure better opportunities for the Namibian construction sector and will clearly address the extent of foreign involvement in the industry, which the federation says is currently to the detriment of Namibian contractors.

In an interview with New Era yesterday during the employment creation seminar, CIF Consulting General Manager Bärbel Kirchner said the National Construction Council is important because currently anyone can become a contractor.  

This tendency has led to many national projects left incomplete, as contractors pocket millions of dollars and do shoddy work but nothing happens to them.

“Council would ensure all businesses operating in the construction industry are registered with them. They need to show evidence of previous work done. This would then become a requirement when tendering for business. Currently, with the CIF, we are a voluntary body, which is membership based. And not every business in the entire industry need to register,” Kirchner explained.

She said once established, shoddy work would be avoided and no one will be allowed to tender in future projects if they do not meet set requirements.

“It will also cut out the tenderpreneurs, the middleman who don’t really have a business but a briefcase. It would be illegal to operate if they are not registered with the council,” she explained. 
She said the construction industry underwent a huge decline in terms of funds availability since the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.

This she says meant there was limited finances available in the sector, of which competition internally increased. 

She said competition is generally good because it has an impact on prices. However, Kirchner noted what happened is that one would have bigger companies, whether local or foreign competing for smaller projects where SMEs and emerging enterprises would be predominantly involved. 

“So, they compete for smaller projects across the board. We have a lot of businesses that has closed down and a lot of retrenchments have taken place. So, we want to find ways that the construction industry is on the growth path again,” she stated.

Therefore, she said one of the key requirements which could lead to immediate results for such growth is the creation of the National Construction Council.

According to her, the regulations as part of the Public Procurement Act of 2015 would reflect some kind of preferences for local contractors such that there are thresholds that only Namibian owned companies would be able to participate in certain projects.

“The preferences are very important to be included in future regulations. We are really happy that the Ministry of Finance gave a directive that local businesses, services and products need to be bought by all authorities in terms of procurement to support them,” she noted.

She says CIF would like to explicitly see that regulations support Namibian owned companies.
Further, she maintained CIF had about 480 businesses registered with them at the peak of 2015, but currently stands at 300, due to the economic down turn as businesses have closed down or down sized.

The Ministry of Works and Transport is the driving force of the National Construction Council agenda.
 However, it is not yet clear, as when the National Construction Council Bill will be table in the National Assembly before it becomes an Act of Parliament.

Albertina Nakale
2019-09-18 06:47:33 26 days ago


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