The Botswana Institute of Development and Policy Analysis (BIDPA) has proposed the establishment of a new national construction body now more than ever before.
This emerged from the recent study conducted by BIDPA, in collaboration with Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology on Institutional Reforms of the Construction Industry in Botswana. Botswana currently does not have a board that regulates the operations of the construction industry.
The construction sector is a multibillion niche business contributing a lot of revenue to the economy; however, the sector has witnessed its crumble over the years.
The findings from the study revealed that growth and development of construction hinges upon establishing a construction body. The BIDPA study said Botswana can learn from other countries, like South Africa and Malaysia whose construction industry development boards instill sanity in the local building and construction industry.
The body will be expected to separate policy making from regulation and only be advisor to Government on policy. In addition, the study recommended that it to be an independent statutory agency, having an overall view of industry. The existing registration boards and councils will be expected to report upwards to the proposed regulator.
The study revealed that Indicators show declining performance in the construction industry with Real GDP having declined from 8.9 percent in 1975 to 5.1 percent in 2010. The Wages having also declined from P 1443 in 1980 to P 1363 in 2010 this is below the national average of P 3591. The study also established that employment levels went down from 16.1 percent in 1980 to 7.1 percent in 2007.
The study stated that the sector has become synonymous with negative adjectives that include poor culture of quality, absence of standards in skills development and training, low participation by citizens, poor leadership and increasing corruption.
From the BIDPA findings, there seemed to be no challenge for reforming the sector due to international commitments on the part of government. The absence of overarching sector legislation was one factor that had contributed to the crippling of the industry over the years.
“Regulators are susceptible to political influence and regulatory instruments are outdated with serious loopholes,” stated the study. Hence the study emphasized the need of an independent body.
According to the findings, the body should be self-financing whilst Government bears the costs of setting up.