real estate

Construction : value of blocked projects amounts to TND 17 billion (Confederation)

December 8, 2021

(TAP) - The value of public works projects blocked in Tunisia, since 2016, is estimated at 17 billion dinars, President of the National Confederation of Contractors of Building and Public Works (FNEBTP), Jamal Ksibi said Tuesday.

Most of these projects are in the water sector. These are projects that could provide about 50,000 jobs each year, said the official who spoke at the annual general meeting of the confederation at the headquarters of UTICA.

Ksibi called on the government to find a solution to revive the blocked projects to boost economic activity, especially in the country's interior regions and to cope with the high prices of building materials.

He also urged the authorities to compensate small contractors affected by this price hike, to establish a monitoring committee that will be responsible for unblocking projects on standby and improve the regulatory framework of the sector, especially since most of the laws date from 1970.

For his part, the head of the project 'Pilot Initiative for an Integrated Local Development', a project implemented by the International Labour Office, Jihed Boubaker, said the contribution of the construction sector to GDP fell from 26% in 2000 to 7% in 2020.

Referring to a study on the difficulties of the construction sector, Boubaker stressed that the profit made by 60% of companies operating in this sector are not able to cover the needs of labour and maintenance of equipment.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected 70% of companies, he argued. In addition, 34% of companies suffer from financial difficulties, and 24% of problems related to the social climate, hindering the completion of many projects, according to the same study.

Regarding the needs in workforce, Boubaker said the sector needs 108 specialties in the field of construction and public works.

The construction sector is faced with several difficulties, including the imbalance in the geographical distribution of companies operating in this field, which are concentrated in Greater Tunis while a small number of companies operate in the interior and southern Tunisia, to implement development programmes planned by the state, in addition to the urgent need for skilled labour, given that 8% of workers are trained in training and employment centres and 40% in private companies.

In addition 83% of companies operating in the sector are small businesses and are part of the informal sector, while 0.4% of companies operate in the formal sector and have the resources to employ more than 50 permanent workers in legality.

He stressed the difficulty of implementing blocked projects because of the cumbersome procedures of public procurement.

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