Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has assured Ghana's construction industry of the government's resolve to manage and mitigate the debilitating global effect of Covid-19 on the industry and the economy in general.
Addressing members of the construction industry last Friday, at the maiden edition of Ghana Construction Industry Excellence Awards, Dr Bawumia commended the immense contributions of Ghanaian contractors to the country's development and the devastating impact of a covid-19 pandemic on their operations, particularly the cost of construction materials.
"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 to the Ghanaian contractors.
He said from housing to non-housing, private to public construction, construction output is an integral part of Ghana's output. Excluding the agricultural sector, construction ranks third after transportation and storage and manufacturing in their contribution to national output.
The construction industry is critical for its direct and indirect impact on the nation's economic progress.
However, the industry's growth has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with global factors affecting the prices of materials such as iron rods and cement locally.
Vice President Bawumia said the growth and vibrancy of the construction industry depend mainly on the development and vitality of the economy.
"This is why economic management is key, the economic indicators of our first term in office tells 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."
Throughout the world, prices of goods have shot up -- the shipping cost of a container from China to Europe had increased from around $2,000 in August 2020 to $13,000, a percentage increase of 650.
He said world prices for cement and iron rods, which are key to the construction industry, had shot up and "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 the government's prudent management of the country's economy post-Covid-19 is beginning to bear fruits that will soon lessen the negative impact on the economy and local industries such as the construction sector.
"We are working hard to manage the impact of the pandemic, and we're not doing too badly, compared to many other countries", Dr Bawumia assured, and added that the government is taking steps to bring down the interest rate.
The government, the Vice President, indicated, would 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 to increase the job creation potential of the industry. "
Dr Bawumia said the establishment of the Development Bank would ensure long-term funding and financing for development projects, including construction projects.
Dr Bawumia said the government's commitment towards strengthening the construction industry is demonstrated in the number of legislations it had enacted to "sanitise, develop and regulate the Construction Industry to facilitate development."
They include 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 Partnerships Act, 2020, Act 1039.