Gaborone — COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted on project implementation in the construction industry, which has resulted in project delays.
Speaking during a press brief on Btv on August 22, deputy permanent secretary in Ministry of Infrastructure and housing Development Mr Bareng Malatsi said the ongoing movement restrictions compromised supply chain.
“There has been a need for rescheduling of some of projects because of the unintended disruptions to the flow of operations in construction sites which further raises the risk of cost overruns,” he said
He said rescheduling had not only affected delivery, but had created unforeseen financial challenges for contractors who were already struggling to meet their operational obligations.
Mr Malatsi shared that such challenges created a burden for government as some projects needed rescheduling of completion date and supplementary funds to complete projects.
He further said that the ministry had to reassess and speed up some of its activities to be in line with pronouncements by government regarding transformation. “The advent of COVID-19 has brought in to sharp focus the need to do more with limited resources, the need to utilise our resources to generate wealth for our citizens,” he said.
Mr Malatsi noted that projects that were highly affected by the COVID-19 included Ghanzi Senior Secondary School, Francistown Senior Secondary School, Matsha Kitchen, Maitengwe Police Stations and Kang Anti-Poaching.
Mr Malatsi said in order to ensure the performance in construction sector the ministry had prioritised finalising of construction industry board which would provide regulatory oversight for the industry to improve project delivery.
“Another initiative which is under active consideration is to increase threshold of consultancies and projects that are to be reserved for citizens,” he said.
He said the ministry had resorted to unbundle large projects to enable citizen participation as way of empowering the locals.
Mr Malatsi further said the ministry had committed to crafting ITTs to ensure that inputs used in construction were locally sourced.
He said the ministry had shared with stakeholders in construction industry on procurement of Safety and Health Environment (SHE) equipment, review of the existing SHE management plan to incorporate COVID-19 protocols, disinfection of sites, plant and equipment.
He further said in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in construction sites they advised contractors to transport staff to sites, regular screening of employees and reporting compliance to site management everyday by site supervisors.
Mr Malatsi indicated that due to COVID-19 they had decided to use virtual platforms for launch or ground breaking and hand over of project as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19.
He said the ministry was in consultations with stakeholders to develop salient COVID-19 protocols which would include hand washing/sanitising, temperature checks, social distancing and use of masks.
Responding to questions from reporters on how government would recover lost time over lockdowns, he said the ministry advised contractors to work extra more hours through shifts to make up for lost time, adding that increased threshold of consultants would help in compliance.
Mr Malatsi said contractors whose works were 80 per cent complete and having financial difficulty to complete the project were helped accordingly by government to complete projects.
Source : BOPA