Construction industry jittery over gov’t delays in using allocated funds
by NGONIDZASHE DZIMIRI
Players in the construction industry have been disheartened by the government delay in spending the P1.8billion allocated for maintenance work in this year’s budget.
The construction industry has been hit hard by the recession and has not been able to revitalize. The situation has worsened because government has shelved most of its projects and is now focusing on maintenance work.
“We are already in June and no maintenance tenders have been advertised and this is reflecting badly on the industry,” said one key player in the construction industry (name withheld). “The industry is dead because there is nothing for the private sector in terms of new projects and now maintenance work is not coming through.”
He said the private developments going on cannot sustain the industry, adding that the private sector is small and cannot generate the money to sustain the economy.
He said from the meeting they had with the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology, it emerged that the ministry does not even have the money to spend.
“The budgeted money is not available to be spent,” he said, adding that they are not asking government to bail them out, instead all they want is some work to do, to keep the industry going.
“Continued dominance by Government in the economy is not consistent with sustainable economic growth,” he said.
He added that many people are losing their jobs and companies are closing. “The way the construction industry is going down is strangling the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile there have been rumours that the government mantainace work will be done by the Brigades and the Construction Inter Training Fund (CITF).
“We feel the government does not need our services anymore,” he said.
Due to the recession, government attention has been shifted to facility management. Christopher Nyanga the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry confirmed that so far the ministry has not issued out any tenders towards mantainace work but would do so in due course.
“We will still engage the private sector if need arises and the normal tendering system will be followed,” he said.
The construction industry is the second largest employer in the country.