…members of the Construction Industry Development Forum (CIDF-GH) tour Rwanda
In learning from the success history of Rwanda’s construction sector; a team of representatives of member-institutions of the Construction Industry Development Forum of Ghana (CIDF-GH), championed by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Construction Sector have successful taken a study tour of Rwanda.
The purpose of the study tour was to enable members of the Forum to learn about the operations of similar institutions in other countries; study how Rwanda has positioned its construction industry; and appreciate how regulation for growth and development of the industry is carried out.
The study tour took place between July 15-20 2018 as part of the Forum’s planned capacity development activities for 2018.
The tour also afforded the opportunity to explore how the youth can effectively be integrated into the construction sector so they can operate effectively. The choice of Rwanda was based on the fact that it is one of the few countries acknowledged in the world as having a well-structured development board for Ghana to learn from.
The team visited and interacted with representatives of nine institutions covering the public and private sectors. These institutions included the Institution of Engineers, Rwanda (IER); Rwanda Institute of Architects (RIA); Association of Contractors; Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA); Rwanda Development Board (RDB); and Ministry of Infrastructure. The other institutions were the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA); Rwanda Transport Development Authority (RTDA); and STECOMA.
According to the team, Rwanda’s development is not only inspirational but aspirational. The team was impressed by the level of development and the effectiveness of development processes in Rwanda just two decades after the genocide. Ghana indeed has a lot to learn from Rwanda in terms of effective institutional development, professional development, inclusive development, city planning and integrated development, sanitation, business development, and transparency and accountability in public procurement and leadership at large.
Key among the lessons learnt by the team is that unlike Ghana, built environment professional bodies and professionals such as Contractors, Engineers, Architects, Planners, Land and Quantity Surveyors are well regulated by legislation. Despite being self-regulated, these professional bodies are under the supervision of the Rwanda Housing Authority. Therefore, effective practice of any of these professionals is practically impossible without being a member of the respective professional bodies. As a result, the impact of professionalism and accountability on Rwanda’s urban development is compelling.
Apart from having a well-regulated construction industry, payment of contractors for public construction works delays less in Rwanda than in Ghana. The maximum delay period was estimated as 90 days whiles there are no such time limits in Ghana; thus, making Rwanda, a contractor’s paradise. There are many reports of some contractors receiving payments for construction works done over five years after completion. This situation threatens the performance, sustainability, and development of local contractors in particular especially when the Government often fails to pay interest on such delayed sums.
Besides, Rwanda’s budget planning system ensures that only projects with allocated funds are commissioned and Ministries and agencies are obliged by policy and legislation to complete outstanding projects before commencing new ones. This practice ensures that the phenomena of many uncompleted projects and project abandonment, which are common features of Ghanaian public construction works, are avoided.
To this end, value for money for construction projects is maximized as unnecessary time and cost overruns are minimised.
The team also highlighted the consistency with which the representatives of the institutions described the development discourse in Rwanda, which signifies the clarity of the development processes, practices, and discourse among the stakeholders. This characteristic, they intimate will help Ghana if such dedication to work and culture could be cultivated by built environment professionals.