The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST) Nonofo Molefhi said they are constantly learning the best ways of dealing with delayed projects and cost overruns. Molefhi said his ministry continues to explore ways of improving the delivery of national infrastructure in the country.
He said the only way to achieve this is to start by reviving the construction sector itself. He said this on Tuesday when addressing the media about the challenges and progress his ministry is making. MIST has been faced with challenges of poor workmanship and failure to perform by the service providers which led to the delays of a number of projects.
All these had led to cost overruns that gobble up the tax payers monies. Some of such projects include the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the Francistown stadium and even the National Stadium in Gaborone. All these were finished way behind schedule with costs overruns.
Molefhi is, however, happy that the projects have now been completed and handed over to respective ministries. He said these incidents have been a learning curve for them and they have already started implementing initiatives to mitigate future reoccurrences. He is adamant that the delays and the shoddy work will be a thing of the past.
Molefhi said the ministry has forged ahead with the development of contractor’s registration bill for the establishment of the proposed Construction Industry Authority Botswana (CIAB). Molefhi explained that the bill currently at draft stage.
“The objective of CIAB will be to implement an integrated strategy for the reconstruction, growth and development of the construction industry in Botswana,” explained Molefhi. He said the consultation processes on the bill are being concluded. The bill is expected to be completed and be ready for presentation for the July 2016 parliament sitting.
Molefhi is hopeful that the bill and other interventions they have been put in place will continue to help the construction industry grow. He said the interventions will help do away will shoddy works and delays in project completion that results in cost overruns. The minister said the ministry will continue to terminate contracts with contractors whose performance warrant for such. That this is done to safeguard the interest of the public, he said.
In the year 2015 the Ministry has facilitated the implementation of legal instruments and administrative structures for both the Architects, Engineers and Quality surveyors. All these professionals are considered to be crucial in the improvement of the construction sector. This is why Government has taken a decision to register all those practicing in the country.
Molefhi said with all these professionals registered it will be easy to track and monitor their performance.
“This will help address the concern that the construction industry’s unregulated environment in which it has been operating under,” said Molefhi. Statistics show that currently the Engineer’s Registration Board has registered over 1500 engineers out of which 250 are government employees.