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Chief actors of the construction sector were upper-handed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the consultative meeting that was held early this week. Convening over 4,000 builders from around the nation, the prime minister, who is a civil and sanitary engineer by profession, had discussions with representatives’ of construction firms on Tuesday March 10 at Millennium Hall. The meeting is part of the National Construction Industry Conference, which kicked off on Sunday.
The eloquent prime minister underlined that the construction sector is filled with several problems including mismanagement and lack of knowledge.
He said that attitudinal change and expanding institutional capacity are badly needed actions to salvage the sector. The prime minister has also blamed the sector actors of misdemeanors in several other meetings held before this one. The prime minister has been expounding that the construction sector is one of the major areas where corruption is unbridled.
The sector actors that come from different sub-sectors including contractors, machinery suppliers, consultancy firms, and construction equipment producers and suppliers raised a dozen of challenges they face with.
The prime minister cautioned governmental enterprises and authorities to cheek themselves and harmonize their service with the private sector. Hailemariam said that the government has established mega construction firms who engaged in water works as there is no capable private company that can handle the gigantic projects the nation had embarked on.
The prime minister also accused local companies who are mainly engaged in multiple road projects at a time that has resulted in delaying the project.
Road contractors refuted that backlash asking the government to support them build their capacity than transferring projects to foreign companies.
The construction sector is one of the priority areas the government wants to boost, but the sector is highly affected by rent seeking. Lack of capacity and skilled labor are also critical problems that hinder its growth contrary to the booming construction. Currently, most of the giant state projects like the Renaissance Dam and the national railway network are being done by foreign firms or public enterprises.
The majority of local contractors are mainly engaged in rural roads construction. Metropolitan road constructions projects are controlled by foreign firms as local and private companies have a bad reputation of weaker capacity, poor performance, and lack of transparency. About 60 percent of the country’s annual budget is allocated to the construction sector which creates 10 percent of the total job opportunities in the country.