New law to regulate construction industry

Source: New law to regulate construction industry | The Financial Gazette September 1, 2016

GOVERNMENT is crafting a Construction Industry Bill to regulate contractors in a bid to protect the public from substandard products and workmanship, as well as control the influx of foreign players into the country, the Financial Gazette has learnt.

The proposed Bill is being crafted at a time the industry is struggling to contain the influx of foreigners into the country due to the absence of a legal framework to regulate the industry.

Revealing this development, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing director responsible for policy implementation, Nathan Nkomo, said: “My ministry is currently working on the enactment of the Construction Industry Bill. The proposed Bill has provision for the establishment of a Construction Industry Council which shall regulate the sector by ensuring registration and monitoring of the Construction sector.”

Negotiations to have a legal framework, between the construction industry and government, began 10 years ago, but the decade of negotiations yielded no positive results.

The industry intensified negotiations this year and government has finally agreed to craft the legislation.

The law will regulate contractors just like other professions such as architects, quantity surveyors and engineers, who have Acts of Parliament to guide their operations.

The Act of Parliament is expected to give the construction industry representative bodies, the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ) and the Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA), a basis to enforce adherence to standards or control the influx of foreigners into the country.

Chinese construction companies, have, for instance, been accused to working on a number of major construction projects in Zimbabwe at the expense of local contractors.

Locals has expressed concern over the rate foreigners were being given jobs at their expense.

Nkomo said the proposed law would address the contractors’ plight and concerns raised.

“The influx of foreign contractors has disadvantaged many local players in the industry, therefore, with the advent of the Bill and other measures lined up, this outcry will be addressed amicably. The foreign contractors should be in a position to impart knowledge and technology by partnering with local players in the sector,” he said.

Government, through the Ministry of Local Government, National Housing and Public Works, is already working with CIFOZ and ZBCA to harmonise the registration of contractors and categorising them.

Nkomo said this would ensure that local players in the industry would participate in public sector investment programmes. Such projects include those funded by treasury and international tenders whose finance models come in the form of loans and grants.