Building Professionals are demanding government expedite action on the initiative to develop a regulatory regime for the construction industry.
This primarily involves moves to set up a Construction Industry Development Authority to regulate activities and ensure sanity and high standards in the sector.
The proposal is said to be the panacea for the shoddy works usually associated with local industry players by building the capacity of construction firms and professionals whilst fashioning-out policies for sustained development of the industry.
The built-environment professionals are taking steps to make this a reality. They have already embarked on a number of international trips to learn from best practice. The steering committee has also held a number of workshops to sensitize stakeholders on the initiative. The Chartered Institute of Building Ghana, which is spearheading the move has subsequently engaged government on it.
President of the institute, Rockson Dogbegah is however lamenting government's commitment to the process so far leaves much to be desired.
“Following the lots of building collapses witnessed in recent times in the country, we would have expected to see more of action from the government side. For instance, last year we submitted the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, a communiqué with recommendations on the steps needed to put this into action. They are still studying this and we hope that they finish this and get into action. By now I would have expected that the ministry engages cabinet on the issues. The process will also involve a bill which would lead to the enactment of an Act to be tabled before parliament which we expected that some work should be going on. I would have expected that stakeholders would be called to discuss how the initiative would be funded but we're not getting the corresponding response” he bemoaned.
He adds that the timelines for the initiative should not be affected only if government would exhibit more commitment towards the process.
“We are looking at finalizing the processes by 2015 and this is possible if government is committed to it. If government recognizes the contribution of the sector to the country's economic growth, that should be fine. I believe everything can be done if we have the will. If government is willing, this can be done within a matter of 6 months – It only takes the commitment of government and the stakeholders” he noted.
He also allays fears that illiterate construction workers are likely to lose their source of livelihood when an industry regulator is established. According to him, the workers should rather be better off with the initiative.
“It would rather enhance their capacity to perform because the initiative seeks to train, develop and certify them. So we're not going to have quacks in the system anymore because irrespective of whether you're an illiterate or not, you'll need some kind of training to be able to practice in your capacity. Otherwise we're only exposing ourselves to environmental hazards because if the people are illiterates, it doesn't mean they cannot work. What you rather need to do is to have a customized training for this group of people and certify them to ensure whatever they do meets international standards,” he concluded.
The Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund is supporting the initiative to enable the country effectively replicate the existing regime in several other African countries like South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania.