Three giant market centres expected to house agricultural produces are underway in the capital with Ovid Construction Plc undertaking the construction project.

The centres which have a combined size of nearly nine hectares are located near the Bethel area in the Kolfe Keranio district and the Ayat and Summit areas in the Lemi Kura district.

The smaller site sits on 2.8hct while its counterpart in Bethel is resting on 2.12hct with both set to contain two retail buildings on 1,200sqm and one wholesale and administration building, slated for inauguration at the end of the month.

The largest of the sites located in Lemi Kura sits on 3.88hct on two plots and is slated for completion in mid-July as a slight delay occurred pertaining to right-of-way issues.

It is set to contain three retail buildings with each plot taking a 1,600sqm and one administration building sitting of the same size. It also hosts two wholesale buildings with a built-up area of 1,200sqm.

Under Yonas Tadele, Ovid Construction is managing to win several large-scale public projects in the last decade due to its use of aluminium formwork technology which reportedly decreased construction costs by as much as half.

The K-span roofing and waste disposal systems have been employed. While the construction company is known for its aluminium formwork, it is not being used on these projects.

While the technology is owned by South Korean company Kumkang, Ovid as the sole certified partner in both the country and the African continent has outpaced the competition.

The market centres were initially budgeted for six billion Birr while a slight increment in costs has occurred, according to Firew Beyene, an engineer at Ovid.

“The handover will commence right after completion,” he told Fortune.

The projects are being consulted by Biybone Consulting Engineers & Architects Plc which has more than 15 years of experience in the construction sector. Headed by Assaye Desta, the firm has notable projects under its wing which include the Kebri Dehar University project and several apartment buildings for Flintstone Engineering.

Ovid had floated an invitation for a bid a few months ago for consultation on the investigation of underground water on the three sites.

The grade-one construction company has over a thousand employees and operates in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya. It has signed an agreement with the Federal Housing Corporation in December 2022, to build two 12-storey mixed apartments using aluminium framework technology on Bole and Shola sites; and with the Addis Abeba City Administration to build housing units in a 70/30 public-private partnership scheme.

The construction sector where 20,000 contractors are registered to operate has been struggling with an unprecedented rise in the cost of inputs like steel, cement and nails.

While it is still under significant duress from inflation and shortage of inputs the construction sector still accounts for a significant bulk of the country's GDP and is one of the largest employers, especially in the form of temporary employment.

In the first quarter of the budget year, the central bank reported that 28pc of total investment projects were accounted for by the construction sector, which was higher than both manufacturing and real estate at 20pc each.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1199]

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