The construction sector is one of the sectors to which the government has given a special attention. Using the poverty reduction strategy as a means, the government has launched all-rounded activities. It is not out of the blue the government brought this strategy into play. It is in cognizance of the role the construction sector plays in speeding up the economy of the country together with its strong potential to create job opportunities for millions the government mobilized its resource towards this end. Fruitful results are being witnessed.
Ethiopia is a rapidly growing country that has been exhibiting a double-digit economic growth for a decade. The availability of untapped natural resources coupled with its being the second populous country in Africa further makes the nation advantageous. Among others, the construction sector is instrumental in catapulting the nation to higher levels of development.
Without the construction sector, the burgeoning of all the economic sub sectors such as modern agriculture and manufacturing are unthinkable. Infrastructural facilities that have been put in place for decades and a half namely, roads, schools, health centres and residential houses are part of the growth. At the same time they enable the tapping of the nation's human and material resources.
The construction sector is playing a signification role for the economy. For GTP I the sector's contribution to the GDP was high. And this is also showing a great improvement for the GTP II. Currently, the construction industry has tremendous impact on the Growth Domestic Production by creating value chains with other sub sectors such as cement industries and small-scale enterprises. Such enterprises are engaged in metal and wood work production utilized as an input for the building construction and stone crushing companies. As a result of the booming of the sector, metal, paint, aluminium and electrical cable industries have been established by local and foreign investors. From time to time, the constriction sector is showing progress. It is safe to claim the industry is booming in Ethiopia. Years ago, the country had been importing cement at huge costs for its developmental projects. In 2010/11 the country had imported 0.3 million tonnes cement spending millions of USD. However, owing to the growing numbers of cement factories, these days, the country has begun exporting products beyond meeting local consumption. The number of cement and chemical producing industries has been mounting by the year.
Despite its greater contribution to the national economy the sector has also several challenges. The issue of quality is one factor that is overcoming further improvement in the sector. The construction industry is one of the single largest sectors, which accommodate thousands of private companies and it is an indicator how the private sector can be a reinforcement force to the public sector. Yet, companies have their own inherent weaknesses. Among others, quality is the major one.
When we talk about quality in the construction sector, we are not talking about a single firm or company. We are talking about the whole economic growth of the country. In this regard, the issue of quality input for construction materials have a significant role.
A recent study by Ministry of Construction has indicated that most of the construction inputs that are produced locally have a quality problems. According to the Ministry, raw materials used for construction purpose still have a problem. What is more, gaps in skilled manpower, modern technology are challenges in the sector. For this reason, most consultants and contractors prefer to use imported inputs instead of local ones. This has an adverse effect on the economy of the country in general and the construction sector in particular.
However, if the construction sector is challenged by poor construction inputs other sectors might also be victims of the problem. In this regard, all stakeholders have a responsibility to focus on quality of local construction inputs.