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NCA Hosts Online COVID-19 Stakeholder Meeting

June 29th, 2020 / by mjenzi

On 4th May 2020, the National Construction Authority convened an online consultative meeting with various professional bodies and contractor associations to discuss the challenges contractors have been facing during this COVID-19 pandemic as well as possible short, mid and long term solutions.

The bodies represented included: Roads and Civil Engineering Contractors Association (RACECA), Kenya Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (KABCEC), Kenya Federation of Master Builders (KFMB), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Joint Building and Construction Council (JBCC), Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK), Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), Institute of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) and Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS).

Eng. Maurice Akech, NCA’s Executive Director, welcomed all the members present and proceeded to give an update on the situation since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Kenya. “Although the situation continues to evolve rapidly the Authority has been monitoring the industry and its operations closely,” he said.

“The Authority has received a number of reports and concerns through stakeholder dialogues and surveys and is keen on addressing these concerns with relevant solutions that are applicable both in the immediate and long-term future,” he further stated.

Some of the issues highlighted include but are not limited to; increased cost of materials, delays on delivery of materials, diversion of construction project funds to address COVID-19 by the National County Governments, lack of a clear cut policy on which personal protective equipment (PPEs)  are suitable for use on site to minimize the risk of spread of the virus, lack of observation of social distancing on site, low density of workers due to restrictions on movement, difficulty in obtaining building and construction permits.

Further challenges tabled were that, workers reported forced pay cuts or reduced working hours, fear of suspension of ongoing contracts, termination of work, delays in payments of ongoing works, extension of project times affecting claims, international and local sourcing constraints and overall supply chain disruptions.

It was noted that due to the unpredictability of the situation caused by the pandemic the solutions offered needed to be reviewed and improved upon on and continual basis.

The proposed way forward was that NCA would:

  • Engage the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on tax concessions affecting the industry,
  • Engage with financial institutions to review terms of funding for construction projects,
  • Engage our parent Ministry on development of a management plan and  possible economic stimulus package, and
  • Engage other industry regulators to ensure smooth running of project approval processes and steady online service provision to ease operations.

Further, the period for the renewal of annual contractor practicing licenses has been ongoing through to June 30th 2020.

In a bid to ease the process for contractors the Authority elected to waive defaulter fees as well as the requirement to have 10 continuous professional development (CPD) points in order to submit a renewal application.

Part of the Authority’s mandate is to coordinate the development and stream lining of the industry, a task that it remains fully committed to, even in these uncertain times.