Recently, when the Construction Contractors Association of Ethiopia Celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its establishment, Minister of Construction Engineer Aisha Mohamed said that the construction industry scored tremendous achievements in the last 25 years in accelerating the nation’s economic growth.
Since the sector has considerable contribution in supporting the ongoing development endeavour, the government has given high attention to maximize its productivity. In addition to fully utilizing the sector’s potential, addressing its inherent weaknesses is vital.
According to Aisha, numerous inhibiting factors that retarded the sector’s growth include: capacity limitation on execution, inadequate input, low level of productivity rate, absence of proper technology, the rent-seeking attitude and lack of good governance.
She further said that the dysfunction of rules and regulations and inept institutions which do not deliver up to their responsibility have a deterrent impact on the sector’s growth.
According to the Minister, in order to avert the negative trend of the sector, the government established a council at the national level which works for the creation of competent industry led economy. “For the successful accomplishment of the mission of the council, it is expected that the government will provide unrestrained support.”
The Contractors Association Board Chairman Bekele Abera on his part said that since its establishment, the Association has carried out a number of activities in order to enhance the members’ professional knowledge and skills by exposing them to new working environment with regard to designing and constructing.
He further said that to attain the high level professional ethics, it has been working together with various stakeholders both locally and internationally.
Moreover, to upgrade the sector’s professional competency at the international level, agreements have been made with German, Korea, Turkey and South Africa contractors associations.
According to Bekele, the Association also made coordinated efforts to work together with renowned international construction companies which are engaged in constructing mega projects to draw lesson and share experiences. It has 1,600 members while more professionals are expected to join it.
Since the government underlined the value of the construction sector for the nation’s economic growth, it has expanded higher educational institutions to produce tens of thousands of engineers and architects that join the market every year.
In addition, the already implemented 70/30 education policy encourages the expansion of natural science more than the social one; this situation also favours the construction sector which needs more architects and engineers.
However, there is discrepancy between what the market needs and the graduates’ actual performance in the industry. Due to the inadequate exposure of the students to the practical skills in the industry while they are studying, they lack efficiency to translate what they learned theoretically into practice.
This is one of the major challenges the employing companies are facing. Hence, to resolve the problem, strengthening the relations between the academic institutions and the construction industry is vital. The other challenge is the delay of the construction projects beyond the completion time.