At long last, Ghana is again taking leadership in construction industry development agenda within the West African region as a catalyst to development. Very soon the Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA) 2020 bill will be passed by Parliament.
In fact, the passing of the CIDA 2020 bill will again put Ghana as the first country within the corridors of West Africa to make such giant strides, learning from the examples of Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, among others. It is important to recount the history of efforts made by stakeholders toward this all-important milestone as a way of consolidating the gains over the years. This is the aim of this brief article.
Many people and institutions have contributed in diverse ways to the construction industry development project. It is important to recognise this in building unity of purpose. Prior to the beginning of the millennium, the academic works of Professor George Ofori, who is informally touted as the father of construction industry development globally, was instructive. It laid the foundation based on which subsequent achievements by other stakeholders were made.
The happenings of the last decade have been consistently monumental. In 2009, Professor Edward Badu-led initiative of establishing the Construction Industry Development Authority, resulted in the establishment of the Construction Industry Development Institute (CIDI) with Professor Joshua Ayarkwa, Professor De-Graft Owusu-Manu and Professor Emmanuel Adinyira as co-founders in 2010. This move brought attention to the need to have a vibrant CIDA and sparked the interest of many industry players.
Subsequently, the Edward Amanor-led Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) in 2011 went on a working visit to South Africa for interaction on best practices in the construction industry. Sequel to the visit, the ABCECG organised the African Construction Development Conference from 8-9 November, 2012 in Accra with Hannah Serwa Tetteh opening the conference on behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana. At this conference, a paper on the topic “Moving Construction Industry in Ghana to the next level” was presented by Surveyor K.H. Osei-Asante, making a case for the need for a regulator of the construction industry. This presentation further ignited the interest of all stakeholders present therein.
In January 2013, a Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC)-funded workshop championed by Rockson Dogbegah on the need to sanitize and regulate the construction industry was held in Ghana. Subsequently, a 10-day best practice working visit was made to Malaysia and Singapore in March, 2013, which included Mr. Rockson Dogbegah, Mr. K.H Osei Asante, Prof. De-Graft Owusu-Manu, etc to learn international best practices and DNAs of CIDA. Formation of BUSAC Built Environment Steering Committee (BBESC), Chaired by Rockson Dogbegah was instituted in April, 2013. Then, in June 2013, post Singapore-Malaysia visit conference for the adoption of framework for the establishment of a Construction Industry Regulatory Agency was held. All stakeholders including government officials, were present with a global authority in construction industry development issues, Professor George Ofori, delivering a ground-breaking paper pushing further a strong case for the Ghana CIDA Agenda.
In July 2013, consultancies for baseline study and drafting of the Construction Industry Development Authority Bill and identification of sponsoring authority, led by Professor George Ofori, Professor. De-Graft Owusu-Manu, Dr. Kenneth Appiah Donkor-Hyiaman and Dr. Michael Adesi was conducted. Sequel to that, a Stakeholders’ Workshop on “Towards Establishing a Construction Industry Regulatory Agency” was addressed by Alban Bagbin, the then Minister of Works and Housing, and Water Resources in July, 2014. The 11th Surveyors’ Week, held had a panel discussion on the theme “Built Environment Professional Collaborating for National Development – the case of Construction Industry of Ghana”, on the 25th February, 2016. Key events that unfolded over the period included: Stakeholder Meetings and Engagements at the Ministry of Works, Housing and Water Resources on 22nd June, 2015; Business Advocate, a TV Series on Thursday 9th July, 2015 on the topic: “The state of the Construction Industry in Ghana”.
In September 2017, the Martins Kwasi Nnuro-led ABCECG secured funding from BUSAC Fund for the continuation of the CIDA Advocacy. Following those events, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Construction Sector set up the Construction Industry Development Forum (CIDF-GH), a public-private dialogue platform with membership from 21 relevant organisations, with sponsorship from the BUSAC Fund.
The formation of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry (GhCCI) in 2018 marked a new era of forging unity among the built environment organisation to intensify the advocacy on construction industry development. Led by the GhCCI, the draft CIDA bill has gone through series of reviews, stakeholder consultations and validations and now about to head towards parliament.
The chronology of events involving critical actors of the construction industry further reinforces for the need of CIDA in Ghana
Clearly, the construction industry has been an economic bolster, employing at least 3% of the labour force in Ghana and currently recording over 8.5% GDP, hitting an average 13.7% to GDP in 2016 and 2017. Amid its economic gains, the construction industry is confronted with many challenges including: institutional challenges; poor procurement practices; resource scarcity; performance issues; contractor classification problems; poor strategy; information asymmetry; impact issues; among others. The benefits inured from the industry coupled with the challenges that threatens the progressive development and sustainability of the industry places more emphasis on the need for Ghana CIDA agenda.
The ongoing ambitious infrastructure projects and all-round development targets in rail, road and transportation, air and aviation, school, hospital, housing and energy infrastructure happening now further adds to the need for CIDA.
The CIDA when fully operationalized, is expected to deliver positive change and transform organizational and institutional mindsets of the industry for the good people of Ghana. The CIDA is also expected to actively engage with all the industry players to deliver construction industry development programmes by exercising regulatory, advisory and executive functions. Construction industry development being a continuous long-term activity, it is hoped that all stakeholders will join force as witnessed at the just ended workshop in Accra funded by BUSAC FUND, DANIDA and USAID to push this national obligation forward to ensure sanity in the construction industry of Ghana.
The writer is a lecturer, Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).