An event aimed at bringing stakeholders in the construction industry together to share experiences, challenges and to chart a way forward has been launched by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Reverend Professor Charles Ansah.
The maiden National Construction Fair and Summit is an initiative of the College of Art and Built Environment(CABE) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST), the Ghana Institute of Construction in collaboration with OCADS Consult Limited and the Ministries of Trade and Industry(MoTI), Works and Housing(MoWH), Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI) and scheduled for August,2018.
Launching the upcoming event, Reverend Professor Ansah noted that rapid urbanisation, investment in infrastructure and other factors place enormous pressure on the construction industry. Professor Ansah further said that there are several actors involved in Ghana’s construction industry such as the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Works and Housing, coupled with many qualified architects, planners, engineers, technicians and other professionals in the industry. Regrettably, he indicated that there appears to be no overall regulatory body to exercise the necessary control and no legal mandate or mechanism for the industry. He hoped products of the industry would be showcased, while industry actors would also put together the right strategies to address challenges facing the industry.
The Provost of CABE, Professor Joshua Ayarkwa, in his welcome address said construction in Ghana over time has developed into a complex industry having different and many stakeholders drawn from finance, real estate, insurance, plant/equipment and material supply, academic institutions, research bodies, professional bodies, construction agencies among others.
Professor Ayarkwa further said construction plays a key role in the socio-economic development of any country and is the backbone of the national economy. He indicated that it is through construction that vital infrastructure like roads, railways, water supply and sanitation, power transmission is improved. Schools, shelter, offices, hospitals are all realised through successful construction activities, he added.
Professor Ayarkwa further stated that, in spite of the successes chalked by the industry over the years, by way of government’s intervention in setting up the District Assemblies Common Fund, Road Fund, District Development Facility, Ghana Education Trust Fund,it is saddled with numerous challenges.
He continued that delays in payment for works, high interest on loans and the capacity of local contractors remain a major barrier to taking advantage of local Public-Private Partnerships(PPP) arrangements and local content opportunities.
Still on the challenges facing the industry, he noted that the cost of construction continues to be high due to lack of good local building materials and non-availability of information on local materials. According to Professor Ayarkwa, access to capital remains a challenge as well as general lack of proper regulation of the industry. He further said though there have been various initiatives from different associations of contractors, professional bodies and other developers in the industry to find solutions to these challenges, little progress has been made. Again, he said not much is heard from key actors such as manufacturers or suppliers of construction products, financial institutions, insurance companies, research institutions, academia and real estate developers.
He concluded that, it is in the light of these deficiencies that CABE and its partners are organising the Fair and Summit to address the challenges confronting the industry. He therefore called on all stakeholders to patronise the upcoming event to help the construction industry.
Giving an overview of the upcoming event, Dr. Emmanuel Adinyira said the National Construction Fair and Summit would be held from the 29th August to 2nd September,2018, on the theme: 60 years of Construction: Uniting for Industrialisation.
According to Dr. Adinyira, the Fair would promote research uptake. Activities lined up for the event are symposiums, exhibitions, workshops, seminars, conferences and an awards ceremony. The event would also be used to launch the Construction and Infrastructural Development Fund.