President of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), Prosper Yao Ledi, has welcomed moves to restore membership of contractor associations as a key requirement to register or renew the licence of contractors. He said this will significantly sanitise the industry and engender professionalism.
Mr. Ledi was speaking in an interview on efforts being made by the Ministry of Works and Housing to address concerns of the construction industry.
Membership of ABCECG used be a requirement for every building contractor in Ghana, and without it a contractor could not win a government tender. However, that requirement is no longer being enforced – resulting in many contractors acting as they please without any sanction or peer-review.
But the Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, has said the old order will be restored. He told contractors at the Annual General Meeting of ABCECG a couple of months ago that his ministry “will restore the need for submission of the ABCECG Membership Certificate as one of the key requirements for registration and renewal as a Contractor”. He explained that this will result in bringing building contractors under one umbrella for effective regulation to ensure best practices. The minister also said it will be backed by legislation as applies to other professionals, such as Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Planners.
Mr. Ledi commended the minister for the bold decision and said the Association will give it its full backing.
He recounted several instances when victims of shoddy jobs reported to the Association, but because the perpetrators were not registered members, the Association could not help the victims. He also spoke about the influx of foreign contractors – a lot of whom are not registered with any association and yet execute contracts without any form of monitoring to ensure they respect the country’s labour and other laws.
“You can’t study law outside and come to Ghana and start practising; the same with Medicine, so why can anyone come to Ghana and start executing projects without belonging to any of the recognised associations?” he queried
The ABCECG President is hopeful that the construction industry will be sanitised if every contractor is compelled to belong to a duly recognised association in the country. “You cannot go to other countries and do as you please, but that is what is happening in Ghana currently.
“That is why we are happy the minister wants to restore the Membership Certificate as a requirement to register or renew registration.” Mr. Ledi also said the Association will continue to collaborate with the ministry to develop the sector.
Mr. Ledi further commended government for resuming payment of arrears owed contractors. “All the key sectors are paying and we are happy.” He urged government to ensure that every contractor is paid.
Mr. Ledi also called on government to ensure that advance mobilisation is provided for every contract, and overemphasis on the lowest bidder at the expense of quality and ability becomes a thing of the past. He explained that these two practices lead to shoddy jobs.