Construction firms demand say in mega deals

HARARE - Local construction firms are demanding a say in the implementation of multi-million mega infrastructure deals signed between Zimbabwe and other countries such as China and India.

Zimbabwe Institute of Quantity Surveyors president George Mutyanda told businessdaily at the sidelines of the on-going ZimBuild Conference in Harare that local firms are well-equipped to undertake major projects but were being sidelined.

"The capacity is there as we have enough skills, experience and ability to execute major projects. Working with international partners on these mega deals will also afford us the opportunity to learn new skills," he said.

This comes as the construction industry recently indicated it was likely to miss the 5,1 percent growth target for this year as construction activity in the first of half of the year was very slow and there were few government projects.

Industry experts say construction firms - currently operating at about 20 to 30 percent capacity - were also facing stiff competition from foreign players like the Chinese and South Africans.

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

Mutyanda urged people from various sectors of the economy to come and participate at the ZimBuild Conference in Westgate.

The conference will look at a number of issues affecting the development of infrastructure across the industry.

Objectives of the conference include exploring practical opportunities in the current business and operating environment and identifying actions that unlock value to capture quick wins for the infrastructure cluster and for the economy.

"Some of our objectives also include drawing up an action plan to activate the harvesting of listed opportunities, promoting linkages and partnerships and promoting networking among participants," he said.

The conference is being held at a time the government in line with its economic blueprint, the ZimAsset is considering infrastructure rehabilitation which is critical in attracting local as well as foreign direct investment.

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