PHILLIMON MHLANGA

VICTORIA FALLS – Parliament will expedite the proposed Bill to regulate players in the construction sector, Business Times can report.

The intended objective of proposed law is to protect the public from substandard products and workmanship as well as control the influx of foreign players.

Negotiations to have a legal framework between the construction industry and government begun more than 10 years ago. But, the more than  a decade of negotiations yielded no positive results.

Speaking at the on-going Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ) annual congress in the resort town of Victoria Falls, chairman of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Portfolio Committee, Daniel Garwe, said his committee would vigorously push for the proposed Bill to become law before the end of the tenure of the eighth Parliament.

CIFOZ is the oldest and largest representative body for the construction industry in Zimbabwe, with a membership of more than 600 on its register.

“Our construction industry has suffered and I think there is need for local players to be protected from the marauding foreign players,” Garwe, who is also a ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for Murehwa North constituency told delegates at CIFOZ congress.

“The proposed Bill, which has been a thorny issue for many years, is before the Minister now and we will make sure it’s out of his office as quickly as possible and become law before the end of our Parliament tenure,” Garwe added.

The proposed Act shall establish a Construction Industry Council to regulate the construction industry by ensuring registration and monitoring of the construction companies carrying out construction work in Zimbabwe.

The Bill is being crafted at a time the construction industry is struggling to contain the influx of foreigners into the country due to absence of a legal framework to regulate the industry.

The situation has resulted in local players in the construction industry being sidelined from major projects, a situation that has gravely affected players who have expressed concern over their marginalization in government projects.

The local players argue that government continues to award lucrative tenders to foreign companies, especially the Chinese who even bring in labour for menial work from China.

The situation has led to retrenchments, downsizing of operations and closure of a lot of local construction firms.