Local content policy to transform construction sector
The problem of ‘shoddy works’ by some local contractors will be a thing of the past when a local content policy for the construction sector in Ghana is developed.
According to Rockson Dogbegah, Chairman, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) construction sector, and the Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Building ( CIOB) Africa, the policy would outline standards required of local contractors in the uptake of government infrastructural projects to ensure quality outcomes.
Addressing a validation workshop on the draft local content policy to be presented to government, he stated that the document would serve as the guiding pillar for regulating the construction industry to create an indigenized globally competitive industry that promotes excellence and supports national development.
The policy, he explained would ensure compliance of Section 98 of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663), which spells out what constitute a local content and focus on ensuring that at least 70 per cent of the total value of all government procurement was executed by local enterprises, with specific provisions for entities owned by women, persons with disabilities and the youth.
It would also legislate payment of all contracts to ensure prompt payment for construction goods and services supplied by the private sector to end the culture of delayed payments which hinders the growth of businesses and foster value addition through reliance on local inputs and participation, establishment of construction materials manufacturing plants among others.
Mr Dogbegah noted that the policy would further foster local participation in the control and financing of any joint venture arrangement that promotes and enables the optimal use of local human resources, materials and services in the construction industry as well as facilitate technology transfer and local capacity development of contractors, consultants, suppliers and labourers through collaborations between local and foreign companies.
The policy, he said would also encourage educational institutions, construction companies, consultants and suppliers to invest in construction skills training to promote wider skills development in the local economy.
Mr Nicolas Jorgensen Gebara, Fund Manager, BUSAC Fund, one of the supporting partners in the development of the policy said, although the construction sector's activities enables productive and economic growth, the lack of overarching regulatory framework was impeding its impact in the development agenda.
He said the reliance on foreign expertise and resources for executing large projects was not sustainable, thus requiring the need to enhance the technical and financial skills of the local construction stakeholders to increase the competitiveness of sector players.
In developing the policy, Mr Gebara urged the stakeholders to create the enabling environment that would allow for international relations and partnerships essential to enhancing competence and transfer of technology.
Mr Maxwell Opoku, Head of Policy, Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE), said the group was confident the construction sector could be used as the means to address growing unemployment in the country, saying that the existence of a local content policy would facilitate the transfer of skills and technology from foreign corporations to indigenes.
The policy, he said would further help in the designing and developing of programmes, projects and strategies needed to make the construction sector effective and efficient.
The workshop / forum forms part of AGI’s advocacy action which is supported by the BUSAC Fund and its development partners - DANIDA, the EU and USAID.