CIF highlights Namibian Construction Council

One of the main topics to be discussed at the CIF Construction Conference & AGM on 14 and 15 November 2019, will be the establishment of a Namibian Construction Council, which is in line with the Namibian government’s commitment to have it promulgated before the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.

The CIF has been lobbying for many years to see that the industry is better regulated and is very hopeful that with a continued focus, this can be achieved.

Despite a busy schedule in the run-up of elections, Hon Mr Sankwasa James Sankwasa, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Works and Transport has expressed his support and commitment and agreed to address CIF members and stakeholders of the industry on the necessity of establishing a council for the sector.

Representatives from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in South Africa, as well as from the Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association, will also share their experiences in their countries, in particular with regard to the regulation of their respective industries.

Bärbel Kirchner says: “it is absolutely vital that our industry will get a council. Businesses in our sector need to be registered to ensure that only those that are registered can tender for business – both in the public and private sector. This will ensure optimal quality in our sector and at the same time, it will also avoid the middleman phenomena in our industry.”

“Even though the CIF currently registers businesses in our sector, membership of the CIF is on a voluntary basis. Members of the CIF are guided by code of conduct. However, the CIF does not have the legal powers to monitor and police. It is therefore important that we up the game for the industry and ensure that any contractor operating in Namibia is registered and has the necessary capacity.”

In addition, the conference will also address the need for creating preferences for Namibian-owned contractors and businesses. In the current economic environment, the CIF feels strongly about the need to support local contractors, who find it difficult to compete fairly with foreign contractors.

This is in particular with regard to availability of finance and the uneven playing field between local and foreign contractors in terms of their accessibility to finance.

It is unlikely that the construction sector will once again record heydays as in previous years. Restricted government budgets will limit the opportunity for extensive growth in the construction sector to meet the infrastructural requirements of Namibia.

Alternative financial resources need to become more accessible. Other than encouraging the attraction of foreign direct investment and the creation of a conducive policy environment, it might also be necessary for the local private sector get involved in the financing of infrastructure development and capital projects.  For that reason, the CIF is offering a three-hour introductory training on financing through public private partnerships (PPPs), at its first annual construction conference, scheduled for 14 and 15 November 2019.

Bärbel Kirchner says: “One of the main buzz words is PPPs. During our high-level engagements with various ministers and authorities, it was highlighted ever so often that we should consider PPPs. One would assume that some of our larger contractors have already been sufficiently exposed to it. However it remains still relatively foreign. And, ultimately PPPs can also be applicable for our smaller business taking into consideration projects at local level”.

The CIF will be providing the training on PPPs free of charge to its members. Any other interested persons can also contact the CIF, to register for the three-hour introductory course, at a cost of only N$250 for non-member”.