The Rwanda Housing Authority is seeking to have all casual labourers registered before they can offer their services, as part of plans to boost quality and stamp out corruption in the construction sector.
Evariste Habyarimana, secretary general of the trade union of building, carpentry and craft workers (Stecoma) which is working with the sector regulator said that registration would make it possible to monitor the activities of casual workers and penalise the unprofessional, including canceling their licences.
“We want to rid the sector of unprofessional constructors who take money from people but build substandard buildings,” said Mr Habyarimana.
While the construction sector employs more than 400,000 casual labourers countrywide, Stecoma has registered only 52,000. Out of this number, only 23,000 are trained and certified in a booming sector that is considered a source of livelihood for those in the low income bracket, the illiterate and immigrants.
Mr Habyarimana singled out people who construct small homes as among those enlisting the services of unqualified engineers who contravene the guidelines in the Kigali Master Plan which lays out the city’s development roadmap for the next 30 years.
Mr Habyarimana said Stecoma has developed an electronic database to help Rwandans find reliable, professional constructors.
Experts support Stecoma’s efforts saying it will reduce fraud, which has plagued the sector, by promoting transparency and accountability.
“The reforms will save people money paid to on unqualified constructors and force constructors to build sustainable projects, because they know they will be accountable in case the project does not meet the standards,” said Silas Byangabo, a 74-year-old engineer.