Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has assured Ghana’s construction industry that the Akufo-Addo government is on course in its resolve to manage and mitigate the debilitating global effect of Covid-19 on the construction industry and the general economy.
Addressing members of the construction industry on Friday, at the maiden edition of Ghana Construction Industry Excellence Awards, Dr. Bawumia, while commending the immense contribution of Ghanaian contractors to the development of the country, also highlighted the devastating impact global factors arising out of Covid-19 has had on their operations, especially increase in the cost of construction materials due to unusual increase in shipping cost from Asia.
“Our country is endowed with great men and women, technocrats, professionals, and businessmen in the construction Industry who have worked tirelessly in bringing us this far and we need to celebrate them. And tonight we are here to celebrate our own,” Dr. Bawumia said, in a tribute to members of the construction industry.
“From housing to non-housing, from private to public construction, construction industry output is an integral part of the national output. Excluding the agricultural sector, construction ranks third after transportation and storage and manufacturing in their contribution to national output. The industry is important for its direct and indirect impact on our economic progress.”
The Vice President, however, added that despite the remarkable economic management of the general economy by the Akufo-Addo government in its first term, the growth of the construction industry has been severely impacted by the globally-hit Covid-19 pandemic, with global factors affecting prices of building materials such as iron rods and cement locally.
“The growth and vibrancy of the construction industry depend on the growth and vibrancy of the economy as a whole. This is why economic management is key. The economic indicators of our first term in office tell a story of competent economic management. However, the world has suffered a global recession; in fact, it is the worst global recession since 1945, as a result of Covid-19, which hit us high in 2020,’ the Vice President indicated.
“Throughout the world, prices of goods have shot up. Shipping cost of containers, from China to Europe has increased from around $2000 Dollars in August last year, to $13,000 Dollars now per container – 650% increase. You also have major goods that have gone up as a result of Covid and all of you in the construction industry know that the world prices for cement and for iron rods have really shot up. So when we see same things happening in Ghana, we know why it is happening. It is a global phenomenon as a result of the pandemic.”
Dr. Bawumia assured the contractors that just as government prudently managed the economy prior to Covid-19 devastating it, government is on course to manage the impact of Covid on the economy and local industries, including the construction sector.
“We are trying to manage the impact in Ghana and we are not doing too badly compared to many other countries, and we have to do even better,” Dr. Bawumia assured, adding that the government is undertaking many steps, including a resolve to bring down interest rate.
“We have completed projects with most of your members and we have resolved to consolidate, with prudent macro-fiscal policies that put us back on track to restore economic stability and growth that will foster a resilient financial ecosystem;
“Ladies and gentlemen, the government intends to cooperate and collaborate fully with the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry. We have had fruitful interactions with the chamber, and we must continue to interact this engagement to increase the job creation potential of the industry.“
‘The soon-to-be setup development Bank is to ensure that there is long term funding and financing for development projects. I fully appreciate that the cost of borrowing has been one of the binding constraints on the industry and we are hopeful that the development bank will provide low-cost interest to contractors and any project funding activity. “
Dr. Bawumia also stated that government’s commitment towards strengthening the construction industry is also showed in the number of legislations it has enacted to “sanitize, develop and regulate the Construction Industry to facilitate development.”
Some of the legislations the Vice President mentioned included the Engineering Council Regulations 2020 (L. I. 2410), Real Estate Agency Act, 2020, Review of the Rent Act, 1963, Act 220; Land Act, 2020, Act 1036; Education Regulatory Bodies (ERBA) Act, 2020, Act 1023 for Skills Development, Public Private Partnership Act, 2020, Act 1039.