Agency Born to Regulate Construction Industry




A bill to establish a regulatory authority for construction work under the newly merged Ministry of Urban Development & Construction is to be tabled for approval to the Council of Ministers.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office before it finally makes its way to the Council.

The Construction Works Regulatory Authority will be tasked with mandates previously assigned to directorates under the former ministries of Construction and Urban Development & Housing. This includes overseeing health and safety standards at construction sites as well as the quality of construction inputs and competency in the industry.

The new Authority is one of six executive organs that will be accountable to the Ministry of Urban Development & Construction. The others include the Urban Real Property Registration & Information Agency, Urban Job Opportunities Creation & Food Security Agency, Integrated Infrastructure Development Coordination Agency, the Construction Project Management Institute and the Federal Houses Corporation.

“The committee has been formed to reorganise and harmonise the work plans under the two previous ministries,” said Ethiopia Bedecha, communications director at the previous Ministry of Urban Development & Housing.

The restructuring of federal bodies that merged Construction and Housing Development ministries was approved by parliament on October 16, 2018, with the goal of reducing waste of resources and increasing the efficiency in service provision. The restructuring reduced the number of ministerial portfolios from 28 to 20.

“The decentralisation of tasks between the two ministries some three years back was never justified,” says Zenebe Mekonnen, corporate resource management coordinator, at the Ministry of Urban Development & Housing.

Another staff at the previous Ministry of Construction fears that there may be staff saturation, especially in the support departments of both offices such as human resources, procurement, finance and communications.

But human resource directors of the Housing Development & Construction Ministry believe that such issues would be addressed as the new Authority would need support staff.

A civil engineer for more than a decade and a private consultant, Habtamu Hailemichael, does not agree with the general optimism over the merger of the ministries or the centralisation of tasks under the Authority.

“Improvement in the industry is more likely to come through an increase in better performances by the industry’s players themselves,” Habtamu said. “There has been both centralisation and decentralisation of tasks over the years, but the state of the industry has never changed much.”

Consuming over 60pc of the nation’s yearly budget, construction accounts for around 9.5pc of annual gross domestic product (GDP).



By BERHANE HAILEMARIAM
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Nov 03,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 966]


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