Headway in regulation of construction industry

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The Construction Industry Authority Botswana (CIAB) has handed the layman draft’s bill, which is expected to regulate the construction industry, to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST).

The draft bill was initially presented to the construction industry in September 2014 following the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis’ (BIDPA) recommendations in September 2011. Speaking at the handover in Gaborone yesterday, the CIAB chairperson, Ulf Soderstrom said after many years of trying to put a proposal together, the layman draft’s bill was finally presented to the construction industry before it was circulated broadly to all construction industry organisations and individuals.

“After all inputs were considered and incorporated, the draft bill was sent for legal editing and in August 2015 was handed to the Permanent Secretary of MIST who again circulated it to the major industry organisations,” he said.

For his part, the Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology (MIST) Nonofo Molefhi said the bill, which has to go through Parliament and might get approved sometime next year, would reduce the monopoly where bigger contractors usually get the bigger share of tenders and sub-contract to small companies at an unfair price.

“When will they grow if they are always given the small jobs, which they regard mostly because they do not have a choice,” he added.

Further Molefhi said the act could not have come at a better time when the construction industry really needs some framework that will regulate their operations.

“For a very long time, our industry was heavily dependent on neighbouring countries, especially South Africa because at that time our economy was small. We needed to learn from them hence the reason why I believe most of the local companies can fully handle the construction of the bigger projects now unlike in the past where they got small projects,” he said.

This proposal started years ago after the MIST tasked the construction industry with developing a layman’s draft bill to create an act for establishing the proposed construction industry Regulatory Body and a Constructors Registration Board.

The ministry has also been advocating for self-regulation in the construction industry leading to the formation of three professional registration boards or councils in the past few years.

In 2010, the Engineers Registration Board (ERB) and the Architects Registration Council (ARC) were formed and the amendment acts in 2012 for the two respective professions have now paved way for their implementation.

The ERB has already started registering engineers while the Quantity Surveyors Registration Council (QSRC) was launched in July 2014 following the enactment of the Quantity Surveyors Act.

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A Call For Government To Save Jobs

The minister further shared that from the 320 businesses that notified the Commissioner of Labour about their plans to retrench, 20 were acceded to, which resulted in 204 workers being retrenched during April 2020 and July 2021.The retrenchments were carried out while the SoE was in place, meaning the companies that succeeded must have had solid reasons, despite the strict SOE regulations imposed on businesses to not retrench. We are left with...

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