Attracting local construction consultants


A study conducted by the Ministry of Construction says that many consultants working in Ethiopia’s construction industry are foreigners. It recommends taking steps to attract local consultants to projects like generating water, hydro power, railways, electricity and bridges.
Some local consultants have sub-contracted with international ones in civil engineering and railways but in other areas like building substations and transmission lines for the Ethiopian Electric Power company, mechanical and electric projects, and signal works they rely on international consultants.
There are a few local consultants working on water generation and dam projects. Lack of technology, skilled labor and finance have caused all large scale bridge and road projects to be handled by foreign consultants, according to the study which recommended getting local consultants to work in power distribution and transmission projects.
Attracting local contractors and consultants to work as sub-contractors, continuous training in the construction field, and giving practical design courses to engineering majors at universities were recommendations given by the Ministry’s study. It also recommended requiring insurance companies to fully cover survey work while charging low premiums and increasing the loan amount to contractors and consultants so they can import more duty free machines and materials and building centers to teach technology and conduct research.
The study eventually will be part of new construction industry guidelines, it has received some criticism from contactors and consultants.
Afework Negussie, President of the Ethiopian Civil Engineers Association said that the government should look how banks finance loans, educational standards, and supplying machines and technology to improve the current situation.
“For example the study looked at railroad construction but the Ethiopia Railway Corporation should be responsible for helping local consultants work in this area. In addition, the payment is not high enough and there is corruption which must be addressed,” he said.
Eyasu Markos, Construction Companies and Professional Capacity Development head at the Ministry of Construction said that improvement will take a lot of hard work and won’t happen overnight.