CONSTRUCTION continues to be among the top performing sectors that contributes to tremendous economic growth in Zambia, says director (public infrastructure) at the Ministry of Works and Supply Danny Mfune.
Mr Mfune said according to available annual statistics, the sector had continued to grow over the last 12 years at a steady annual average rate of 17.5 percent.
He said this in Lusaka yesterday during a two-day official opening ceremony of the contractors and stakeholders’ consultative meeting.
“This growth can directly be attributed to increased Government expenditure on infrastructure development projects as well as private sector investment in construction activities,” he said.
He noted that in the recent past, Government had invested heavily in expansion, development and maintenance of education, health, transportation, communication and power generation plants, as well as dams and recreation facilities.
Mr Mfune said the private sector had equally been an active participant in the provision of various infrastructure, thereby complimenting Government’s efforts.
He said that construction activities also created a demand for goods and services in the area of transportation to deliver materials to construction sites, as well as financial, sales and leasing services once a structure was completed.
Mr Mfune said despite this positive impact, a number of issues were being faced by the sector which required innovative solutions in order to overcome and these include rising project costs which can be attributed to the rise in prices of raw materials and the strength of the Kwacha in relation to other currencies.
He said there was also need for the construction industry to address the gaps in the inadequate legal framework in order to be able to effectively regulate the industry, stating that the National Council for Construction (NCC) Act no.13 of 2003 is undergoing review in order to make it responsive to the needs of modern society in a global sense.
Mr Mfune added that the sector faced skilled labour shortages due to the inability by learning institutions to produce enough skilled labour and professionals who have the ability and knowledge to handle projects successfully.
Meanwhile, NCC board chairperson Patrick Kampengele said the stakeholder consultative meeting whose theme is “Towards a quality-driven construction industry”, has been coined to reflect the NCC’s desire to foster quality and sustainable infrastructure development as enshrined in its vision statement.
Mr Kampengele said the consultative meeting is therefore meant to deliberate and devise a strategy mainstreaming quality at every stage of infrastructure delivery which seems to have been neglected in the past.
He said it was imperative to ensure longevity in terms of the design and operational life of the infrastructure if Government was to realize value for money.