Construction industry cries foul

THE Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz) has accused the State Procurement Board of sidelining its members by awarding foreign companies lucrative tenders at their expense.

MTHANDAZO NYONI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Speaking on the sidelines of a Cifoz meeting held in Bulawayo on Friday, the federation’s president Gift Godfrey Mpofu said foreigners were being given priority in projects that could also be undertaken by locals.

“Our members are subjected to unfair tendering processes and we are just given projects already constructed without going through fair tendering processes,” he said.

“We are not given the right priority in terms of indigenisation.

“Zimbabwe can be built by Zimbabweans themselves. Outsiders can come to help. People at higher offices are alleging that we no longer have capacity to carry out projects because they are hiding behind the fact that they are bringing in their Chinese friends whom they award the projects through corrupt tendencies.

“We have the capacity and where we do not have the capacity we set up joint ventures and consortiums.”

Mpofu said the construction industry backed the government’s economic blueprint ZimAsset especially the aspect of infrastructure development.

The construction industry last year said it was likely to miss the 5% growth target as construction activity in the first of half of the year was very slow and there were few government projects.

According to Cifoz, the construction industry is operating at about 20% to 30% capacity.

Lack of huge capital inflows and major national development projects are some of the constraints cited by stakeholders in the construction industry.

The industry is also facing stiff competition from foreign players like the Chinese and South Africans.

Cifoz has been pushing for a Construction Industry Bill since 2011 which if successful, would result in the entity assuming the status of a statutory board.

Among other things the Bill, if finalised, is expected to protect the local players from foreign competition as it provides that preference be given to local companies in the awarding of tenders by the State Procurement Board.

The government initiates 60% of the projects in the construction sector.

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