Dec 28 , 2019

The City Administration's construction bureau hired 51 local architecture and engineering firms at a fixed price to supervise the construction of ongoing public projects in the capital.

Last year Deputy Mayor Takele Uma ordered all of the ongoing public projects to be transferred to the construction bureau, citing the avoidance of delays and better management as the main aim of the move. The projects had been under the management of public institutions that own them.

After taking over about 1,000 ongoing projects, the Bureau has been working on the preparation of bid documents, the announcement tenders and selecting contractors and consultants.

Out of all the projects, the consultancy services for 51 projects, worth six billion Br, were transferred to local companies two weeks ago. The companies that secured the projects are those who participated in the renovation of 488 schools and 10 hospital projects, which were launched by the City Administration last summer.

Out of the projects, six of them will be carried out by level-one consultants, three by level-three consultants, five by level-four consultants and the remaining 37 projects will be supervised by level-five consultants.

Addis Abeba Cinema, Akaki Zonal Stadium and Minilik Eye Centre are among the projects recently awarded to the engineering consulting firms. Noble International Business and Cheetah Consulting Architects & Engineers Plc are among the companies that secured contracts.

Some of the projects are expected to be completed this year, while the rest will be delayed due to a shortage of foreign exchange.

Beginning this month, the Bureau called interested local companies to apply for the projects, and 108 consultants showed interest. Then the Bureau screened the companies after analysing their capacity and the scope of work and held a raffle to select the winning 51 companies.

Before drawing the raffle, the Bureau gave a five-day standstill period for the participant companies to submit their complaints or grievances. And five companies filed grievances.

"Since they raised reasonable issues, they were included in the project," said Afework Nigussie, deputy head of the Bureau, which is currently managing more than 1,000 projects including shed works with a total cost of over 10 billion Br.

Noble International Business, a company that was previously engaged in the construction of Amhara Mass Media Agency and the Harari Regional State Administration Office projects, was awarded for the supervision of the Addis Abeba Cinema construction project.

"We're waiting for technical specification from the Bureau to mobilise human resources,” said Abdulwasi Usmail, general manager of Noble.

Cheetah Consulting is also awarded to consult on the construction of Akaki Impaired Centre.

Yonas Sebsibe, the CEO of Cheetah, says that the company does not have detailed or concrete information about the project.

“We still don't know the related costs and what exactly will be our role," he said. "The Bureau has to work on this and provide us with more details."

Mesele Haile (PhD), a consultant and lecturer at Addis Abeba University for over three decades, says that forwarding these projects to the local consultants should be fair and merit-based.

“Previously, the process of awarding such projects had issues with fair distribution," he said. "This will boost job creation and give chances to young professionals."

PUBLISHED ON Dec 28,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1026]

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