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NCIC to host international construction conference and exhibition
December 13, 2023 / Christopher Jimu Chegutu

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) has announced plans to host the 7th international construction Conference and Exhibition next year, as one way of enhancing skills development and capacity building in the industry.

Acting Regulatory and Enforcement Director at NCIC,  Dorothy Nyongo’nya told Mining and Trade Review in an interview that they expect more international participants this time around compared to previous conferences.

“The conference is indeed on. This time around we hope to have more international participants even those from outside Africa. We have put fliers at our airports and we are using various platforms to share information regarding this event,” said Nyongo’nya.

She disclosed that previous conferences have attracted mainly participants from Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries but there is hope that the situation will be different this time around.

According to a statement in circulation, the conference which will take place from 7th to 8th August 2024 in Mangochi, will provide a platform for stakeholders to share experiences, develop solutions to challenges while positioning the construction industry in its rightful role of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Malawi Agenda 2063.  

Reads the statement: “In keeping with its mission and goals, NCIC is planning to host the 7th International Construction Conference and Exhibition in August 2024 in Mangochi.

“The conference shall provide a platform for dissemination of research results from researchers, practitioners, developers and persons engaged in the construction industry,”

Objectives to be achieved during the conference include: sharing and taking stock of current best practices for construction excellence, adopting resilient and inclusive strategies in infrastructure development as well as fostering dissemination of practical research results.

During the conference delegates will also consider harnessing the formal and informal sectors in the construction industry, share and take stock of current best practices for construction excellence and consider issues of quality and standardization for the industry.

Conference sub themes will also include among others ,: innovation in the construction industry to promote efficiency and import substitution, adaptation of the construction industry to changing environment, climatic and social conditions as well as collaboration for sustainability and adaptation for accelerated infrastructure development.

Construction
ProjEx Group thrives in railway construction
November 08, 2022 / Wahard Betha

Local civil engineering firm ProjEx Group has managed to swim through Malawi’s murky economic waters to emerge as a giant in the field of railway maintenance and construction.

Corporate Director for the Group Phillip Tembo says in an interview that commitment to quality is the reason for the growth of the firm, which was established in 2011 as company providing both building and civil engineering services.

“ProjEx is able to execute any kind of job in railway construction and maintenance with expertise. We also have the expertise to work on projects related to water, roads, bridges, building and any other construction and civil works,” Tembo says.

The Company is, currently, executing various projects including: Upgrading and expanding of Chintheche Water Supply System for Northern Region Water Board (NRWB); rehabilitation of Section Chipala (KM507) to Mchinji (KM696 -Chipata Border) Railway Line in Malawi for CEAR and; construction of civil works on rail line at Blantyre Depot for National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA).

Tembo says the Company has a well-established Quality Management System (QMS) that aims at identifying principles and processes that ensure quality assurance and quality control of their work.

He says the primary focus of the QMS is to meet the clients’ specifications and requirements and to strive to exceed their expectations.

Tembo says: “ProjEx uses structured processes, with controls at all levels from the managers to the personnel performing each task.

“The aim is to make sure that the different activities are performed according to specifications and requirements and to continuously improve each process.”

“Quality assurance is achieved through our control of documents and records, internal quality audits and internal control of non-conformances.”

“As one way of ensuring quality control and delivering high-quality testing of construction and civil engineering materials, the company invested in establishing a well-equipped materials laboratory.”

“To adhere to specifications, testing of materials is critical and crucial. ProjEx Materials laboratory provides vital testing on soils/gravel, aggregates and concrete. We also have equipment for testing materials on site.”

On Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE), Tembo says the Company has a full department headed by a qualified manager dedicated to look after OSHE issues.

He says before acquiring or renting a new machine for projects they are executing, they always perform a pre-inspection that enables them to check if the machines conform to different standards regarding OSHE.

Tembo says operators for the machines are also required to undergo through trainings before they operate the machines. 

He explains “While on the work front, operators are required to perform daily inspection checks on the machines to see if they conform to different OSHE guidelines or standards.”

“If the machines are found to have nonconformities, quick efforts to correct them are implemented immediately.”

“ProjEx Group also commits itself to maintaining its equipment as specified by different machine specifications.”

“Whether maintenance is done in the field or workshop, efforts to manage the environment are implemented. For example, if there are spillages, control is done with the presence of spill kits and a waste management plan is also followed to allow proper disposal of the waste.”

However, Tembo describes business in the year 2022 as tough as the prices of most construction materials have risen due to the 25% devaluation that the Reserve Bank effected within the year.

He also says scarcity of foreign exchange contributed to challenges for the Group as the contracts they execute rely on imported materials.

Tembo says: “Things have gotten worse now with fuel supply shortages which have caused distraction of major works for the projects we are doing especially the rehabilitation of the railway line from Chipala to Mchinji.”

“This project uses a lot of machinery and fuel is one of the major commodities being used so our business has been affected badly.”

“Nonetheless, we appreciate the efforts government is doing to overcome these challenges and it is our belief that things will improve and get back to normal.”

Projex Group has offices in all regions of the country and this year has registered a branch in Mozambique and later plans to extend to Zambia.

With over 450 employees, the company has a steel profiling factory currently producing three types of iron sheets under the brand name ‘Mudzi Malata’ namely: Mudzi tile, IBR and corrugated including producing top rolls.

Construction
Malawi seeks bids for construction of irrigation scheme water intake
December 06, 2021 / Innocencia Ndawala

Malawi’s Greenbelt Authority is seeking bids from eligible contractors for the construction of irrigation scheme water intake works at Mwangolera, Nthola-Ilola irrigation scheme in Karonga District.

The Authority says in a statement that bidding will be conducted in accordance with the open tendering  procedures contained in Malawi’s Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act of 2017 and Public Procurement Regulations of 2020 and is open to all eligible bidders.

It says interested bidders may obtain further information from the procurement and disposal unit of the Greenbelt Authority in Lilongwe.

Interested bidders are requested to attend a mandatory site visit and pre-bid meeting at Nthola –ilola irrigation scheme on Tuesday December 9, 2021 at 10.00am. The point of meeting is at Karonga District irrigation office.

Bids must be submitted in sealed envelopes and clearly marked with the procurement reference number.

The deadline for submission of bids is December 17, 2021.

The Malawi Government established the Greenbelt Authority to champion large scale commercial irrigation whose main purpose is to accelerate social economic transformation through increased agricultural productivity, agro processing and easy access to markets.

Contact address

 The chairperson

Internal procurement and and disposal of assets committee

Greenbelt authority

Mwai house ( opposite TAMA house )

Floor # 2 –conference room

Convention drive

City Centre

Lilongwe.

Construction
NCIC warn foreign firms against defying construction laws
November 19, 2021 / Wahard Betha

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) has warned foreign construction companies against sidestepping laws that regulate the industry in Malawi.

According to a press statement issued by the Council, some foreign companies working or intending to provide construction services in the country deliberately avoid to comply with the regulations that compel them to provide services through joint ventures or subcontracting agreements with local firms.

Clarifying on the statement, NCIC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Gerald Khonje stressed the need for foreign firms to follow both the Subcontracting and Joint Ventures by Foreign and Malawian Construction Firms Order of 2014 as well as The Practice of Construction Consultancy Services by Foreign Consulting Firms Regulations of 2004.

“In line with the Presidential Directive on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Order (MSMEs) and the Joint Ventures and Subcontracting Regulations in Construction, NCIC wishes to advise all foreign firms operating or intending to operate in the construction industry in Malawi to ensure compliance to both the Order and Regulations.

“Any foreign firm that is found to be operating contrary to the provisions of the Order or the Regulations stated herein risks disciplinary sanctions which may result in the revocation of its license,” said Khonje stressing the importance of complying with the Order or Regulations before commencement of any construction works or activities.

The National Construction Industry (NCI) Act mandates NCIC to promote and develop the construction industry in the country by giving priority to the general public in a bid to ensure that both foreign and Malawian firms benefit from the industry

Khonje explained that the two documents require local contractors involved in joint ventures to shoulder a minimum of 30 percent of the works by volume and value while local consultants must undertake a minimum of 51 percent of the services agreement.

NCIC further warned Malawian firms against entering into fraudulent agreements aimed at circumventing the provisions of the Order or Regulations, saying such conduct amount to offenses that attract disciplinary actions, which may result in the suspension or revocation of their licenses.

Khonje appealed to firms that have not yet complied with the two documents to do so immediately to avoid delays and disruption of their various works or activities.

NCIC has launched a five-year fraud and corruption prevention policy to create a corrupt-free working environment within the Council as well as the entire construction industry.

The policy focuses on fraud and corruption prevention as much as it also looks at internal systems control.

In the fraud and corruption prevention area, the policy emphasizes on development and implementation of effective fraud and corruption detection and correction systems. While in internal systems control, the policy spearheads adherence and enforcement of other policies including registration procedures, financial policies and procedures, codes of conduct, staff terms and conditions of service, evaluation and monitoring and; enforcement procedures.

Construction
NCIC launches corruption prevention policy
October 04, 2021 / Wahard Betha

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) has launched a five-year fraud and corruption prevention policy to ensure a corrupt-free working environment within the council and the construction industry In Malawi.

Speaking during the launch of the policy in Lilongwe, NCIC Acting CEO Engineer Gerald Khonje said the policy has been developed to ensure that any form of fraud and corruption is not condoned in Malawi’s construction industry.

Khonje said the council is committed to investigate and accordingly deal with all suspected fraudulent and corrupt activities.

The policy will apply to all fraud and corrupt practices and to any suspected breaches involving the NCIC board; Management and staff members; persons engaged in the construction industry; service providers and; any other stakeholders who directly or indirectly transact with the Council.

Khonje said: “Indeed, the effects of corruption are rampant, and the country has witnessed in the past years serious cases such as the famous cash-gate scandal that led to the plunder of huge public money.”

“These practices have led to serious negative effects on national development and the council together with the entire construction industry is not exempted from the same.”

“The council realizes that its operations and that of the industry are susceptible to fraudulent and corrupt practices.”

“These practices have the potential to cause significant financial and non-financial harm. Therefore, the prevention and control of these practices should feature predominantly within the systems and procedures of the council and that of the industry.”

Khonje also stressed that the fraud and corruption prevention policy will prioritize areas of fraud and corruption prevention system; and internal control systems.

On fraud and corruption prevention system, the policy will focus on development and implementation of an effective fraud and corruption detective and correction system in the council.

While in internal control systems, the policy will spearhead adherence and enforcement of other policies that guild the council including; registration procedures, financial policies and procedures, codes of conduct, staff terms and conditions of service regulation and monitoring and; enforcement procedures.

He said: “So this policy will enhance transparency and accountability. You may be aware that we were also running that initiative in the construction industry that enhances disclosure of material project information about projects that are being implemented within the country.”

“With that accountability, duty bearers will be able to be held accountable by the citizenry because the citizenry will be empowered through sensitization as to what they should expect from the industry and how projects are expected to run.”

In her remarks, Deputy Minister of Transport Nancy Chaola Mdooko hailed the launch of the policy describing it as a catalyst towards eradicating fraud and corrupt activities in the industry as some citizens will be kept aware of what is bad in the system.

Mdooko said that the construction industry is one of the fertile industries that contributes towards boosting the country’s economy and, that keeping it a fraud and corrupt free-zone will rescue the country’s grappled economy.

“I am calling every citizen to take part in reporting any fraud and corrupt practices to ensure that the malpractice is prevented. On top of that I urge NCIC board to abide and live by the commitments and policies so that this policy should also be implemented on the ground not only on paper,” said Mdooko.

She appealed for more intervention and coordination amongst various stakeholders in the construction industry in developing the sector in order to meet the country’s the Malawi 2063 agenda.

Apart from the fraud and corruption prevention policy, NCIC also launched other two documents; disability policy to promote the contribution of men and women with disabilities in the country’s construction industry; and client service charter with a goal of developing an internationally competitive construction industry that positively responds to industry demands and technological advancement in provision of quality infrastructure products and services.

Construction
Malawi Govt. lambasted over Salima-Lilongwe water project delays
January 14, 2021 / Wahard Betha

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has accused the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources and; Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) of not being open on their position on Salima-Lilongwe water project.

Over three years have elapsed since the Government and the awarded contractor Khato Civils started negotiations over the project amidst various controversies.

Chairperson for the Committee Werani Chilenga made the accusation when the committee engaged the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources; LWB; Ministry of Finance and; Khato Civils to hear the progress of the project.

Chilenga said the committee suspects that the Ministry and LWB are not being open on the project because their interest is not on the multimillion-dollar project but rather the Diamphwe Water Project.

He said: “As a committee we are recommending that due to scarcity of water in Lilongwe, the project is the best for the city.”

“We are failing to manage the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. Both Diamphwe and Lilongwe Rivers are coming from Dzalanyama.”

“At the rate deforestation is taking place now, we can do Diamphwe but just few years later we will go back to Lilongwe-Salima project which by then will be too costly.”

Meanwhile, there is fresh controversy on the project as in the original design, Khato proposed the use of ductile iron pipes but following recommendation by the Government to consider reducing the price for the project, the contractor has proposed mild steel pipes which the government is not satisfied with.

The change of the project material has reduced the cost of the project from a tune of $400-million to $315-million.

Mild steel pipe is made of rust corrosion measures while Ductile iron pipes are made of ductile cast iron commonly used for potable water transmission and distribution.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources admitted that it finished reviewing the technical side of the revised design for the project and handed over to Ministry of Finance for final recommendations.

Director of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who represented Secretary to the Treasury MacDonald Mwale said the Ministry has not yet started working on the project as they are still waiting for a final financial proposal.

Mwale said negotiations for the project are taking a long time following changing of type of pipes by Khato in the requested design.

“Of course we received the design from the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources and we are about to look into it later. We are currently waiting for Khato Civils to submit full financial proposal,” said Mwale.

Khato Civils Group Chief Executive Officer Mongesi Mnyani said firstly they opted for ductile iron pipe after considering factors of purchase, logistics, installation and maintenance. 

Mnyani said now the situation has changed following the reduced cost as the mild steel are cheaper than ductile iron.

He also said the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has also influenced the change of the pipes considering that logistics to acquire ductile iron will not be easy as initially suggested.

“We understand that the Malawi Government still insists on ductile iron pipes not the mild steel we proposed. But the Government has to know that ductile iron pipes can still hike the cost back to over $400-million which will not satisfy them,” Mnyani said.

The Lilongwe-Salima water project is expected to pump water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe City, a distance of 120 kilometers.

Government already spent $17-million on the project which will be pumping an estimated 50,000 cubic meters of raw water per day through a 50 centimeter diameter pipeline.

Khato Civils is owned by South African based Malawian business guru Simbi Phiri.

During the presentation of 2020/21 National Fiscal Budget, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu pegged expenditure for the project at K2.2 trillion.

Construction
Kenya’s Webtribe to construct Blantyre minibus parking terminals
December 24, 2020 / Noel Mkwaila

The Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) says Kenyan firm Webtribe will start construction of modern minibus parking terminals at Mibawa in Blantyre Central Business District and Limbe in April, 2021.

Acting Executive Director for PPPC Audrey Mwala said this at an inspection tour of the construction sites by the Commission and Webtribe officials.

Mwala said PPPC settled for the Kenyan company to execute the project and manage the facilities through a competitive bidding process.

“In October this year, we signed an agreement with the company to construct and manage the facilities for a period of 10 years in a Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement. We came up with the agreement because minibus parking sites in Blantyre are not in good shape, according to the standards of modern cities,” she said.

 Construction of the facilities will take almost 12 months and structures will include offices, shops, bathrooms, waiting bays for passengers and automated entry bars.

The PPP arrangement includes that the developer will be providing security to the facilities in the 10 year lease period.

In his remarks, Executive Director for Webtribe Danson Mucheni said the exercise is in-line with his company’s goals of digitalizing various operations which can be achieved through modern infrastructures.

He says they want to introduce an automated revenue system in transport sector for Blantyre City Council.

“We are planning to roll out implementation of this next year. We are 11 years old in digital payments and we have implemented this in several places including city of Nairobi so we are sure this will work here as well,” he said.

Chairperson for Mibawa Minibus Drivers and Conductors Evans Galasi expressed gratitude towards the initiative saying the digital ticketing system will simplify their operations and also the project will improve sanity at the site.

“We have people who are even afraid of visiting that area to board a minibus due to how the surrounding looks but we are quite sure that this initiative will address the challenge,” said Galasi.

The construction exercise is expected to cost US$2-million and after the 10 years, Webtribe will hand over ownership to Blantyre City Council.

Construction
Tedzani IV construction nearing completion
October 20, 2020 / Bester Kayaye

Malawi’s Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) says 95% of the 18MW Tedzani IV Hydropower Station is ready with all the civil works completed.

The Company says in a press statement that it has commenced electrical-mechanical works following the arrival of various parts and spares required for the project.

Egenco says it has expedited the works despite delays due to the coronavirus disease (Covid19) pandemic that resulted in works being suspended for 3 months, from March to May 2020.

Meanwhile, works have since resumed and it is expected that they will be completed ahead of time in February 2021, beating the official commissioning date of September 2021.

The Power Station is being built with a US$52 million Grant Assistance from the Japanese Government through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with EGENCO contributing US$4.8million.

Tedzani Power Station has a total generation capacity of 102MW comprising Tedzani I and II with 40 MW and Tedzani III with 62MW.

The addition of the 18MW Tedzani IV will increase its capacity to 120MW.

In a quest to mitigate power outages in the country, the company is also constructing 1.3MW Solar Power Plant that will see the livelihood of the people of Likoma and Chizumulu islands greatly improving with a 24-hour availability of electricity.

The solar power plant is part of a 3.1 MW Hybrid Power Plant comprising of 1.8 MW diesel generators and 1.3 MW solar power that was launched in December 2019 by EGENCO with the initial commissioning of only the diesel generators while the commissioning of the solar power plant is expected this year.

The solar power plant is being financed by EGENCO to the tune of K3.2 billion.

Construction
Malawi’s Roads Fund Administration to construct office complex
August 20, 2020 / Nelson Gonjani

Malawi’s Roads Fund Administration (RFA) is advancing with preparations to construct a state-of-the-art office complex in the Capital City, Lilongwe.

RFA is currently seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified firms to provide project management service which will include architectural, engineering, design and construction consultancy services.

CEO for RFA Richard Manjanja says the interested firms must provide information that they are qualified to perform the assignment by including the in their submission the firm’s profile, the description of similar assignments undertaken, traceable client references, profile/curriculum vitae of key personnel and project team leader that will be responsible for the overall coordination of the assignment.

Manjanja says the qualified firms shall have a minimum of ten years of experience in providing similar services to those required in this request for the expression of interest.

The firms must have handled at least three similar assignments in the last 10 years, and the information on evidence of previous experience and expertise shall include; the names of project and clients, brief descriptions of scope of work and projects contract values.

He states that the Consultancy shall provide at least three traceable references of past clients for which similar services have been provided including; the addresses, contact persons, contact numbers and email addresses.

‘’It is expected that the firms shall be registered with the National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) and shall give evidence of tax compliance with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).’’

The Consultancy will cover the following three phases; Phase 1, Conceptual drawings and preliminary designs, Phase 2, Detailed designs and bidding document and finally phase 3, the Construction supervision.

The Consultants are expected to specifically carry out the following; Review the conceptual plan/brief of the requirements for the office complex as drafted by RFA Management, Develop the conceptual drawings and preliminary designs for the office complex, Generate detailed architectural, structural , mechanical, electrical and plumbing designs for the office complex, produce bidding documentation to the facilitate the procurement of a competent contractor for the project and Supervise construction of the office complex to completion and finally handover the building to RFA as a client.

‘’Bidding will be in accordance with the Government of Malawi National Competitive Bidding (NCIB) procedures,” Manjanja says.

The deadline for submission of bids is September 4, 2020.