Local sub-contractors have urged the government to check what they have described, as ‘an influx of foreign contractors’ in a drive to assist local experts secure construction jobs.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the Contractors’ Consultative Meeting in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, local sub-contractors complained that most jobs were being awarded to their foreign counterparts.
“The government and the Contractors’ Registration Board should stop the registration of contractors from abroad,” said Andrew Msaki, one of the representatives of the sub-contractors.
“Some of foreign contractors employ expatriates and they don’t provide sub-contract local firms... So, our people don’t get jobs and our economy continues to decline while they on the other hand the foreign firms make a lot of money for themselves and their home countries,” Msaki explained.
He said the government should empower local contractors and enable them to contribute significantly to economic growth and creation of employment opportunities for Tanzanians.
“The government should empower local sub-contractors by giving them new contracts to support them economically. All government contracts should be awarded to local contractors,” he stressed.
Juma Hamsini, a senior marketing officer with G. F Truck Equipment Ltd said the trend was threatening the existence of local firms and jeopardized the quality of construction services by creating monopolies in a free market setup.
“The future generations of sub-contractors are slowly being nipped in the bud, thus killing the nascent industry and its future. Even when foreign and big local contractors employ indigenous Tanzanians, they do not impart to them any skill,” he said.
The tendency, according to Hamsini, also diverts the benefits to non-native construction firms, noting that there should be in place policies requiring big contractors to sub-contract projects instead of monopolising everything, including jobs that can be done easily by small contractors.
Winding up the two-day contractors meeting, Works deputy minister Gerson Lwenge challenged local contractors to take advantage of opportunities coming with the East African free market by applying to construction tenders announced by member states.
He advised local contractors to organise themselves and cooperate in looking for opportunities.
CRB registrar Boniface Muhegi told local contractors, "the government has promised to offer you jobs”, citing the construction of Mbutu Bridge in Igunga district, Tabora region, which has been awarded to 13 local contractors.