Mauritius’ construction sector is set to be stimulated with a planned injection of Rs 130 billion in public infrastructure projects resulting in a seven per cent growth this year.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, at the opening of a workshop on ‘The Construction Industry 2017-2026: Challenges and Solutions’ which was held at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène.
He stated that these works form part of the public sector projects announced in the last budget, and include also a few major private sector projects which were delayed in 2016.
The next decade, he said, will be rich in opportunities for the construction industry as major projects will be implemented.
They include the Road Decongestion Programme, the Port Master Plan, the new Supreme Court, the new Sports Complex, the renewal of water pipes, and the Rivière des Anguilles Dam. The construction sector is expected to grow by seven per cent this year with these major infrastructural works, he added.
For his part, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, MrNandcoomar Bodha, said that by December this year, an amount of Rs 5 billion will be invested in construction projects relating to the construction of the grade separator at Jumbo, the bridge at Sorèze, the Victoria Urban Terminal, and the Ring Road.
He highlighted that the level of construction activities associated with the launch of these mega-projects will inevitably reach a peak. This will in turn lead to an unprecedented demand for a skilled labour force, a steady supply of basic construction materials, as well as business facilitation measures for optimum performance by all stakeholders. Failure to meet such increased demands and facilitation could jeopardise the successful implementation of the projects concerned, he said.
Also present at the workshop, the Minister ofLabour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training, Mr Soodesh Callichurn, appealed to the youth to take employment in the construction industry. The emerging trend in the industry, he said, is that sectors which require working at night, working for long hours or which require heavy physical efforts are no longer appealing. This is already the case for the bakery sector, the textile sector, the agricultural sector and even for the construction sector. In these sectors pressure is building up for foreign labour, he added.
Speaking about the high number of serious and fatal accidents occurring in the construction sector, Minister Callichurn underlined that his Ministry has taken several proactive and preventive measures so as to ensure that workers in the construction sector are provided with safe and healthy working conditions.
These measures include: Legislations to regulate safety and health at workplaces including the construction sector namely the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005 and other regulations regarding Personal Protective Equipment, Work at Height, and Safety of Scaffolds; and construction of two new units namely the Construction Unit and the Employees’ Lodging Accommodation Unit.
On this occasion, a Public Guide for Construction of houses was launched by the Prime Minister. The objective of the guide is to assist the public at large on the various factors-design, site constraints, orientation, comfort and the use of solar energy.
The Workshop focused on three key determinants of successful project delivery for the country’s ambitious capital works programme planned over the next decade. The three crucial factors are Workforce, Materials and Facilitation.
There are several potential constraints that could hinder the smooth running of these projects. Such constraints need to be addressed in order to ensure that the major projects to be implemented are successfully delivered.
The ultimate objective of the workshop was to identify possible constraints and to propose the necessary measures in connection with issues relating to Workforce, Materials and Facilitation and to come up with recommendations and an Action Plan for the next 10 years. It is hoped, through open and interactive discussions that a consensus be reached among participants on the way forward regarding measures to be initiated for the smooth implementation of all planned projects.