ZBCA president Eng Nerera addresses stakeholders at the breakfast meeting
MASVINGO – There is absolutely no joy for companies that cut corners, evade the rules and try to go it alone in the construction industry because specifications governing implementation of big projects can only be met by working together, the Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) has said.
This was heard during a ZBCA stakeholders breakfast meeting held in Masvingo last Friday where it was heard that some contractors were dodging their statutory obligations like registering with the relevant authorities and/or failing to pay their dues to the regulatory bodies.
ZBCA president Engineer Ransom Nherera lamented failure by the construction industry to work together and confront the challenges of the sector as a united front.
"We are failing to regulate our own playing field yet we want a stake in such big and important projects like the dualisation of the Harare - Beitbridge road. Let's do things the proper way lest we remain marginalised as sub-contractors while foreigners continue to take the main contracts. The next thing which will be said is that the indigenous contractors never do their work properly and they do not finish projects," Eng Nherera said.
The main contract to dualise the road was won by an Austrian consortium Geiger International due to perceived incapacity of the local civil engineering sector.
Eng Nherera said much of the work in the construction industry was being done by unregistered contractors taking advantage of the prevailing economic conditions to undercut formal contractors.
"Masvingo is growing as evidenced by the many new suburbs emerging and we have so many unregulated players doing a great deal of the work and when the regulated contractors go there, they don't find the work.
"We are talking about unfair competition here and it is bad because when the unregulated people fail to do the job properly, there is no easy recourse and you end up taking each other to the courts," said Eng Nherera.
National Employment Council for the Construction Industry (NECCIZ) representative Charity Sithole, who stood in for general secretary Taruvinga Dzokamushure, urged players to register their businesses.
"Those who want to do construction work on the road or anywhere else please register with us in accordance with the statutory requirements. Registration is a qualifying requirement for you to be able to go to the tender board," said Sithole.
Construction sector trade union, ZCATWU general secretary Nicholas Mazarura said the industry was taking a battering due to the proliferation of informal players.
"Employers and employees let's all unite and safeguard the interests of our industry. The informal sector is getting work at our expense by charging hand to mouth rates because we are not united. Let's work together, register with NECCIZ and work to improve productivity," said Mazarura.
The event was attended by many stakeholders including ZBCA Masvingo region leader Otinniere Tavirai, Standards Authority of Zimbabwe (SAZ) technical services director Cyril Siringwani, Construction Industry Pension Fund (CIPF) CEO Elisha Ngunga, engineers from the rural district councils as well as insurance sector representatives.local