The Association of Ghana Industries, AGI is pushing for the formulation and passage of a local content policy for the local construction industry.
A local content policy, the association says is urgently required to develop the burgeoning construction industry into a vibrant one towards the country’s economic development as a whole.
According to the Chairman for Construction Sector of the AGI, Rockson Dogbegah, the capacity of Ghanaian construction firms need to be beefed up for the sustainable development of the economy. In an interview ahead of a workshop on the need for a local content policy for the construction sector, he said no nation can grow its construction manpower without empowering it’s the local players.
“It is no doubt that for sustainability, the nation cannot continue to rely primarily on the expertise and resources of foreign companies for executing construction projects. The capacity of Ghanaian construction firms needs to be beefed up. The Mission of the AGI Construction Sector is to influence the development and growth of the construction industry, through effective stakeholder engagements and policy reform initiatives that will enhance the capacity and competitiveness of construction sector service providers in Ghana” he said.
The workshop to discuss the need for a local content policy for the construction sector is to be held on July 11, 2017. It will provide a platform to identify international best practices and thereby help develop programmes, projects and strategies for a comprehensive local content policy for the construction industry.
This will involve stakeholders such as relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as industry/professional associations like the Ghana Real Estate Developers Associations(GREDA), Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS), Architects Registration Council, and the Public Procurement Authority among others.
Available data from the Ghana Statistical Service shows that between 2009 and 2013, the Construction and Real Estate Industry contributed on average about 14.34 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The data shows that the contribution of the industry to GDP consistently increased from 12.9 per cent in 2009 to 16.2 per cent in 2013.
This trend shows that the real estate and construction industries are increasingly becoming more important to Ghana’s economic growth but operating below optimum.
Mr. Dogbegah who is also the Vice President for Chartered Institute of Building, Africa, (CIOB) Africa, said, this highlights the need for a local content policy for the sector; adding that better management of the industry could expand the contribution to national growth.
“The number of indigenous construction companies operating in the country had recorded a sharp increase but were not offered many contracts as compared to their foreign counterparts who were doing volumes of construction contracts in the country,” he noted.
Lack of capacity
The issue of local construction companies lacking the capacity to deliver on big projects is a longstanding one which industry players believe could easily be addressed with the formulation and passage of the local content policy for the sector.
They players want the local content policy when passed, to compel all foreign civil construction companies in the country to partner local construction firms. This, they believe would help build and develop the capacity of the local construction companies to the benefit of the economy.
“We must pass a law that will prevent foreign companies from securing any construction contract without a local partner over a period of time. This will help build the capacity of the local companies within the period and we can then take that protection off after that period so that we all compete. Over-dependence on foreign expatriates for construction works that can be easily carried out by Ghanaians was inimical to the growth of the economy,” Mr. Dogbegah said.
Advocates of the local content policy for the construction sector are also of the view that such a Policy would also be timely for the government’s job-creation agenda.
According to them, a local content policy would not only ensure increasing Ghanaian participation in the construction sector but would provide employment opportunities.
They argue the construction sector is very pivotal in addressing the country’s unemployment issues hence the need for government to pay adequate attention to the sector.
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