Hon. Moses N. Muihia is the National Chairman of Kenya Federation of Master Builders and is a registered and practicing Quantity Surveyor and holds a Bachelor’s Degree (Hons.) in Building Economics from the University of Nairobi.
Hon. Muihia joined the Ministry of Public Works in 1973 as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor. Studied, practiced and sat for the professional examinations in 1976 which qualified him to join the Department of Land Development as a part time lecturer for two years before joining the teaching staff as a lecturer in Quantity Surveying and Building Construction in 1979.
He entered private practice in 1985. He was a Kenyan Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2002 and a Board Member of Public Procurement Oversight Authority 2007 to 2010. He has attended Corporate Governance and leadership courses and travelled widely on related construction issues.
He is currently the National Chairman of Kenya Federation of Master Builders and a Director at the National Construction Authority Board.
Construction Review interviewed him and this is what he had to say.
When was the Kenya Federation of Master Builders (KFMB) formed, reasons for forming it and its vision?
Kenya Federation of Master Builders was registered at the Registrar of Societies office on 6th Nov. 1995. It is the association representing the interests of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Local contractors in all trades in the construction industry in Kenya
The main objectives include, but not limited to:- Promote measures and take steps that may be considered advisable for the protection of the interests of its members of the Kenya Federation of Master Builders, promote and encourage consultations between and amongst its members on matters connected with developments and emerging technology the construction industry.
In matters affecting the interests of builders to lobby, promote support or oppose legislation, bureaucratic measures; formulate and uphold the highest standards of construction business ethics by encouraging fair practices and efficiency among its members. Provide facilities for the study of and enquiry and research into building and construction, industrial matters and to make known the results through publicizing the result.
KFMB also aims to promote training courses on the principles and practices in the building industry and to grant award & prices, Give advice to members on financial & or legal matters arising out of contractual obligations, Affiliate & collaborate with institutions, societies and Associations having object in whole or part similar to those of federation, purchase, sell, lease machinery, chattels, land necessary for the promotion of its objectives, Fundraise, receive grants, donations & invest money to achieve the obligation of the federation; To form county branches/ chapters and to do all such lawful things as are incidental or may be thought by the Federation to be conducive to the attainment of the objectives.
Our Vision is to be the leading contractors association in the region and our mission is to develop the SME contractor who is efficient through capacity building to under-take construction professionally and profitably.
What have been the noteworthy milestones in the development of the Federation and how has it benefited members and the building and construction industry as a whole?
KFMB was a major player in the development of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 and the Regulations 2006. It successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the preferences and reservations clauses under Section 39 for participation of candidates such as disadvantaged groups, micro, small and medium enterprises in the procurement value chain.
All public procurement entities are required to give excusive preference to Kenya Citizens where the funding of projects are 100% from the government of Kenya or where amounts are below prescribed threshold. The act also allows preferences in the evaluation of tender bids where there are joint venture ownerships depending on the percentage shareholding of the locals to the foreign firms on a graduating scale.
Through further lobbying bidders were allowed to use Insurance Bid Securities and Performance Bonds which were hitherto the preserve of banks. This allowed bidders to have easier access to procurement. It is however, unfortunate that Procurement Entities have failed to implement this window to prop up the SMEs.
KFMB has stamped its presence as a major stakeholder in the construction industry and has its nominee in the Board of the recently launched National Construction Authority.
When did you become National Chairman of the Federation?
I joined KFMB in 2004 on invitation by the officials as the National Coordinator and Ag. CEO and was elected National Chairman on 30th March 2012.
What are the challenges that you have encountered?
There have been major challenges in the construction industry, largely, due to lack of a structured regulatory mechanism. All stakeholders operated haphazardly. There has been no government or public policy guidelines to direct relationships between and amongst the players.
KFMB did not have capacity to drive the organization due to low membership. There were only four active executive committee members at the time and contractors did not appreciate the need to work as a strong lobby group to drive change. There was resistance amongst the officials to embrace corporate governance which is the core to success in running any institution.
What are the achievements accomplished during your tenure?
I adapted to the existing working systems within the association while engaging other stakeholders and in particular government departments in order for them to appreciate the need for structured regulations to address the shortcomings.
KFMB spearheaded the lobby to engage government in 2006 towards the establishment of the National Construction Authority, as a regulator of the construction industry. It drafted a position paper to justify the need for regulation.
The first raw Bill to establish the Authority was well received by the government an culminated in the enactment into law and gazettement on 16th December 2012.
The functions of the Authority are:- Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Authority shall: Promote and stimulate the development, improvement and expansion of the construction industry; advise and make recommendations to the Minister on matters affecting or connected with the construction industry; undertake or commission research into any matter relating to the construction industry; prescribe the qualifications or other attributes required for registration as a contractor under this Act; assist in the exportation of services connected to the construction industry;
Provide consultancy and advisory services with respect to the construction industry; promote and ensure quality assurance in the construction industry; encourage the standardization and improvement of construction techniques and materials; initiate and maintain a construction industry information system; provide, promote, review and co-ordinate training programmes organized by public and private accredited training centers for skilled construction workers and construction site supervisors; accredit and register contractors and regulate their professional undertakings; accredit and certify skilled construction workers and construction site supervisors; develop and publish a code of conduct for the construction industry: and do all other things that may be necessary for the better carrying out of its functions under the act
At the Annual General Meeting held in March 2012, I was elected the National Chairman together with a team of other national officials.The current membership has risen to 500 and is rising steadily.
What are the problems plaguing the industry/profession?
Citizens and local contractors in the industry face major challenges associated with; Lack of adequate technical capacity to handle complex infrastructure projects, Lack of adequate managerial skills, Lack of access to affordable credit from banks and other financial institutions, Long delays in payments from employers and in particular government and other public institutions
Expensive equipment and construction machinery, Rigid and unfriendly procurement procedures, Lack of Credit Guarantee Schemes, Lack of support by government and stiff competition by foreign contractors some of whom are government backed companies.
What role has The Kenya Federation of Master Builders played in alleviating these problems?
KFMB has constantly engaged the government and other stakeholders in lobbying for change and will, in particular, push for implementation of the functions of the National Construction Act 2011 and regulations which seek to address most of the challenges.
The Association is negotiating with a German organization (BGV/SEQUA) with a view to facilitating joint ventures and training of its members in relevant programmes aimed at capacity building.
What needs to be done in the future to further improve the industry/profession?
The government should take bold steps to deliberately support citizen contractors and maintain the tempo it has set in funding infrastructure. The National Construction Authority should strive to fulfill its mandate.
What role must government play to alleviate the problems/challenges faced in the profession/building industry?
The government must play a facilitative role and put in place policy guidelines which are conducive and business friendly. Government should initiate policy changes to promote small and medium enterprises to increase investment by mobilizing resources for Credit Guarantee Schemes
Individual public officers should be held to account for any delays in releasing payment to contractors while accounting officers should be retained in service only on meritocracy and accountability
The government is encouraged to facilitate acquisition of heavy construction machinery to be shared among the contractors on hire basis. The fleets should be run by competent managers of impeccable integrity.