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Dubai firm eyes share in Kenya’s booming construction sector

By Lee Mwiti | Apr 28th 2016 | 2 min read
By Lee Mwiti | April 28th 2016
Lands and Housing Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi (centre) chats with National Construction Authority Board Chairman Steven Oundo (right) and Vice Chairman Loice Kipkiror (left) during the launch of the National Construction Week in Nairobi. (PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/ STANDARD)

The National Construction Authority (NCA) will partner with DMG Dubai Construction Company to boost small enterprises with capital and training.

Currently, close to 80 per cent of operators in the construction industry are SMEs, but most of them lack capital and technology.The Dubai firm representative attending the launch of the Kenya Construction Week scheduled to take place in November promised to actively engage local players in the industry.

According to NCE Chief Executive Daniel Mathuku, close to 20,000 of the registered contractors in the country lack proper training.

This is because most academic institutions do not offer high-level construction training, apart from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, which offers specialised courses in construction. He hoped the new partner on board will assist in equipping the locals with technology, training and the much-needed capital.

Also speaking during the event, Lands and Housing Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi decried the fact that rogue contractors are putting up poor buildings all over the city and called on NCA to step up its regulatory mandate.

“NCA has to come up with a maintenance policy, which will rein in those who don’t paint or even repair their buildings within a certain duration. We should also embrace a green policy where buildings are constructed in an environmentally friendly way,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

Kaimenyi was also surprised that despite the Government putting up a factory in Mavoko, Machakos County, contractors still preferred to import building materials, which drove up building costs by 30 per cent.

The CS also announced, much to the relieve of industry players in attendance, that the Government will work with other state agencies like the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to lower levies, which are cited as bottlenecks to growth in the industry.

Mr Mathuku also noted that given the poor rate of research and training in the industry, Kenya will suffer as the construction boom takes root in Africa.

“With rural electrification coming to an end, electricity will boost the industry and players have to be prepared. We also have, as a leading economy in East and Central Africa, a big market which we have to take advantage of,” explained Mathuku.

The Government has invested heavily in the construction sector in order to improve the infrastructure such as road networks, railway network among others projects.

The substantial increase in its population, has also continued to put pressure on the need for affordable residential, commercial and industrial buildings which has further increased the opportunities in the construction industry with land rates remaining the major constrain.

Last year, due to numerous infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway, construction sector grew by 14 per cent, with National Treasury credited the sector for the overall economic growth registered.

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