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National Contractors Excellence Awards launched:

Dr. Hanna Louisa Bissiw, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, has launched the Contractors Excellence Awards, slated for September 21. This year's awards has been expanded to include Road Contractors. The maiden edition of the awards organized by Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors Association (ABCECG) was limited to Building and Civil Engineering Contractors however following its successful organization, other contractors suggested an expansion to cover other areas, hence the new name National Contractors Excellence Awards. The yearly event is geared to promote excellence in the operations of contractors in the country. Launching the awards, The Deputy Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Dr. Hanna Louisa Bissiw expressed disappointment about instances where local contractors engaged in shoddy constructional works and even disappeared with the mobilisation funds given to them. "It is important that as we work hard to bridge our infrastructural gap, pursue excellence and work to the highest possible standards. It is only then that local contractors would be given a good name." "We want to see our construction firms compete favorably with any firm anywhere in the world and offer to undertake jobs in other countries," she said. The Deputy Minister urged the Association to build the capacity of its members to be well positioned to team up with foreign investors in the country. Dr. Bissiw said the Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on the modalities of how the Ministry could use part of its internally generated funds to implement training programmes for local contractors. Mr. Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Chairman of Technical Committee of ABCECG, expressed concern about the lack of a comprehensive government policy for the construction industry and cited South Africa, the United Kingdom, Malaysia as some of the country whose construction industries were booming due to the establishment of organisations to regulate their activities. He called on government to establish a Construction and Development Board to regulate activities of contractors in the country. "Establishing a regulatory Board would ensure that contractors are paid on time as key to the respect and compliance of conditions of contracts," he said. Mr. Dogbegah called for the inclusion of the association on relevant government bodies that related to the building and road construction. He expressed concern about the unethical tendering process that had characterised the awarding of contracts in the country and thus denying qualified bidders who were not politically inclined of contracts. Mr. Dogbegah said "today, we compete with Chinese contractors and suppliers under this NCT because officialdom has swept this provision under the carpet to benefit some few unpatriotic individuals," he said. He said members would be awarded in 11 categories. There will be awards for the best Road Contractors in the four different classes as well as Best Building and Civil Engineering Contractors also in their four classes. The ultimate will be the Contractor of the Year which could either go to a Road Contractor or a Building and Civil Engineering Contractor. The President of ABCECG Martins Nnuro said contractors were determined to pursue excellence in order to ensure sustainable infrastructure in the country. He therefore called on government to support the industry's growth saying that government and contractors were development partners. Mr. Nnuro whose company picked one of the awards last year also called on contractors to take the awards seriously and compete in the various categories. He said since his election as President in April this year, he has been committed to promoting the course of contractors and urged fellow contractors not to sit on the fence but be involved in all programmes intended to boost the image of the profession. Mr. Frank Lartey, Vice President of the Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA) expressed the strong desire of Road Contractors to be part of the awards this time around. He was hopeful that the platform provided by the awards will also enable contractors address the various challenges that confront them so that they can truly pursue excellence. The overall winner for last year's event Kimathi Dake of Jescan Construction limited who had a truck as the ultimate prize, underscored the relevance of the Excellence Awards and urged contractors to embrace it fully. A football gala by contractors will be held throughout the regions and in Accra on the 15th of September to herald the Awards night.

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Awards for Road and Building Contractors to be launched this Thursday, June 14:

An excellence awards to recognize and award Building, Road and Civil Engineering Contractors in Ghana will be launch on Thursday June 14 at the Engineers Centre, at Roman Ridge in Accra at 10am. The National Contractors Excellence Awards is being championed by the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (ABCECG) as part of the crusade to promote excellence and discourage substandard works in the construction sector. Last year ABCECG held the first ever Excellence Awards for Building and Civil Engineering Contractors. Following the successful organization of the maiden event, other contractor groups expressed interest in expanding the award scheme. As a result of this interest, this year's award is being expanded to include Road Contractors. Road, Building and Civil Engineering Contractors will therefore have the opportunity to compete for the coveted awards slated for September this year. Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA), and the Association of Road Contractors (ASROC) are involved in events leading to the awards. The launch of the National Contractors Excellence Awards is opened to the public and application forms for the awards will go on sale after the launch.

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Foreign Contractors are overstepping their boundaries - Local Contractors:

Local contractors are raising concerns with what they deem, the spate of foreign participation in government-contracts reserved for indigenous companies. They are worried Chinese Construction companies especially are unduly competing with them in the National Competitive Bidding process.

They say the foreign companies are taking over the general construction sector – a phenomenon they argue only defeats government's local-content goal. Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Association of Building and Civil Engineers and Contractors, Rockson Dogbegah has been lamenting the issue to JOY BUSINESS.

"Some of the procurement entities at the district and regional levels are generally ignorant of the provisions under the Public Procurement Act (Act 663). This is because the law is very clear regarding the engagement of only Ghanaian companies for works procured under the national competitive bidding process" he said.

"If it is not ignorance then it would be an indication of blatant disregard for the Act. These days we see a lot of Chinese competing with the local Ghanaian companies in almost all the bids we tender for. Meanwhile, cross-checking on their backgrounds indicates that their majority shareholding structure is not Ghanaian; in some cases they are 100 percent Chinese or foreign companies and that they can only bid in Ghana under the International Competitive Bidding Process" he added.

According to him, the trend can be reversed only if stakeholders would duly implement the provisions in the Procurement Law. "Procurement entities, Government agencies and stakeholders should respect the relevant provisions in the public procurement act - in which case, the Ghanaian construction companies and service providers would be protected accordingly" he concluded.

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Contractors would rather choose private sector jobs:

Some contractors in Ho have noted that they would rather go for private sector jobs than government ones if opportunities were available in the private sector.
This is because the private sector clients offer greater certainty regarding the payment for jobs. These attitudes became known at a seminar organised for members of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) and media practitioners in Ho on the theme 93the establishment of a Regulatory Body for the Construction Industry in Ghana."
The seminar is part of a series being sponsored by BUSAC Fund and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the European Union (EU). Due to the current working environment, some contractors were moving away from government jobs whiles some financial institution have said that they would not lend money to contractors undertaking District Common Fund projects. Mr Edward Amanor, President of (ABCECG) said the establishment of a regulatory body for the construction sector has become imperative to enforc= e quality performance standards among all stakeholders in the sector. He said the ABCECG has started a number of initiatives aimed at transforming the construction industry in the country and give it respectability.
Mr Amanor said the Association sees the media as important allies in the transformation processes as advocates for national development. In his remarks, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Amenowode said contractors are important allies to government because they are the ones who translate government's promises into tangible accomplishments.

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Time to drop 'bad-boy' tag:

They have been described as 'bad boys' and economic saboteurs. Today, local contractors are working hard to have this negative tag changed in order to win back the trust and confidence they require from society to enhance their image.
Their umbrella body, the Association of Building Contractors and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), is championing a massive transformation of local contractors to make them comparable with any other contractors on the globe.
It wants to get to the point where the distinction between the local and foreign contractors will only be based on origin and not capacity, expertise or quality of work.
As a first step, the Association has instituted a National Excellence Awards, the maiden edition slated for December this year, to recognise contractors whose works have transformed the national economy.
This Paper is happy with the decision by executives of ABCECG to help sanitise the sector. This move, it believes, has become necessary to not only help redeem the Association's dented image, but also enable the sector contribute to growth of the economy.
Ghana's huge infrastructural deficit requires that more construction works be undertaken. This Paper believes it is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of local contractors whose competence and ability must be brought to bear.
This Paper is also happy with the criteria for the awards scheme, which will at the end of the day ensure that building construction firms are professionally managed with proper structure, management policies and plans which will help them meet the standards.
Dropping the 'bad-boy' tag is the best thing that can ever happen to our local contractors. But this Paper believes it must not be a one-off thing, but instead a conscious and continuous self-purging exercise to flush out charlatans that bring the name of the profession into disrepute.

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Contractor urges Media to expose substandard works:

The media has been challenged to expose substandard works executed by contractors in order to help streamline the construction industry.
Deputy Managing Director of Berock Ventures ltd, a civil engineering and general building construction firm, Mr Courage Dogbegah, who made the call, said quality work must not be compromised and urged all stakeholders including the media to be part of the agenda to bring excellence into the construction sector.
Mr Dogbegah, who was speaking at the end of year durbar of Berock Ventures, said it was imperative that every contractor pursued excellence.
He challenged the media to praise contractors who do good jobs and name those who failed to meet the required standard.
Berock has handled a number of projects awarded by the Millennium Development Authority, government and other major clients.
He said the company was positioning itself to take advantage of government's agenda to embark on massive infrastructure next year and urged government to see local construction firms as partners in the development of the country's infrastructure.
Mr Dogbegah said the company will be very visible in Ghana and other countries in 2012.
The company did not compete for the maiden National Building and Civil Contractors Excellence Awards, because the current Managing Director Rockson Dogbegah, was the main architect of the awards and felt there could be conflict of interest. However the company had indicated its desire to compete for the awards in 2012.
Staffs of the construction firm were honoured for their outstanding performance and challenged them to continue working towards the growth of the company and the construction industry in general.
The Chairman and founder of Berock, Rockson Dogbegah. who also chairs the Technical Committee of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana, asked the workers to be ambassadors of excellence.

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SSNIT suspends issuing new clearance policy for contractors:

The Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), has responded positively to calls by the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, Ghana by suspending a new policy on the issuance of SSNIT Clearance Certificate to contractors.

The decision follows concerns by the contractors that, the move, poses a threat to the construction industry.

The General Manager, Operations at SSNIT, Theodore Fredrick Ohene, told GBC’s Radio Ghana that after consultations with stakeholders, SSNIT has come to terms with some of the issues raised by the contractors hence, the suspension of the policy.

The Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, Ghana has welcomed the move by SSNIT.

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Lifeline for Contractors:

The deadline for the submission of forms for the National Building and Civil Contractors Excellence Awards has been extended to October 26, 2011 to enable contractors complete the entry forms in order to compete for the awards. However the contractors say due to the comprehensive nature of the entry forms, they would require additional time to prepare the accompanying documents. The Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) Rockson Dogbegah, who disclosed the extension of the deadline, noted that filling of the 21-page entry forms requires a lot of time and work. He mentioned that contractors are required to submit a lot of documents and get endorsement from consultants who work with them on the various projects, adding that 'the Criteria Development Committee deem it fair to extend the deadline.' The first-ever excellence awards for the building construction industry forms part of efforts by ABCECG to discourage shoddy works and encourage excellence, particularly among Ghanaian contractors. He said the selection criteria are thorough so as to ensure that the entire process is free and fair. 'If we are pushing for excellence then the selection criteria itself must be excellent and we are not compromising on that.' Mr. Dogbegah said the awards slated for December promises to be a great event that will be truly national in character, as several activities will be rolled out to gain the attention of the general public. He urged the building contractors to pick up forms because a big celebration awaits them in December. 'There will be no better platform than what will happen in December to market yourself as a contractor, so if you stay out, you would miss out,' the Technical Committee Chairman added. The National Building and Civil Contractors Excellence Award is being organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing and will be held at the Banquet Hall of the State House. A delegation from South Africa will attend the event come December 8, 2011.

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