Construction industry seeks structure

Federation pins hopes on envisaged supervisory authority

12 August 2020 | Infrastructure

Windhoek • Clemens von Alten

The Construction Industries Federation (CIF) and its approximately 280 members continue to hope that a supervisory authority could be established before the end of the financial year.
However, to date this hasn’t happened, CIF managing director Bärbel Kirchner said in Windhoek yesterday. “This is likely due to Covid-19, but we hope that the Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, will work towards ensuring that the legal framework is implemented.”
The draft policy, the Namibian Planning and Construction Council Bill, was presented to parliament ten years ago but was not passed. “Since then we have been in talks with various ministers and even wrote to every member of parliament in 2016, telling them how important legislation is to regulate the industry,” Kirchner said, adding that the CIF deals with various authorities and ministries including the National Planning Commission (NPC).
“In the course of these discussions however, it became clear that local construction companies are being accused of doing poor work and often abandoning clients,” the Kirchner said. “This is unfortunate, especially since it ultimately means a waste of money at the expense of taxpayers.”
At the same time, however, CIF members fear that this argument will also serve as a pretext for not awarding contracts to Namibian companies.
“However, it is precisely for this reason that we will continue to campaign for a supervisory authority that would contribute significantly to the regulation of the construction industry,” she said. The federation is convinced that the establishment of such an authority would play a decisive and essential role in the further development of the local construction industry.
“At the moment, almost anyone can offer services as a building contractor without having to submit proof of experience,” she said. “The authority would require every service provider to register.”
In addition, the supervisory authority would make it possible to classify construction companies in the country according to size and ability. “The council could determine which firms are able to handle work of a certain size, which would ensure that the projects are carried out effectively,” she concluded.

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