Following a Prime Ministerial circular signed March 12, 2007 which stated that 50 per cent of public buildings should be constructed with local material, the Local Material Promotion Authority, MIPROMALO in partnership with the Ministry of Public Works, MINTP has organised a training workshop for public works controllers in the various regions. The first in a series of many opened in Yaoundé at the headquarters of MIPROMALO with some 23 public works controllers drawn from the Centre South and East regions.
Speaking at the opening of the seminar in Yaoundé, the Sub Director of Expertise and Local Materials in the Ministry of Public Works, Nguimdo Augustave, who sat in for the Minister, said the seminar is the first in a series which will be held nation-wide. He revealed that the second of its kind had to take place in Bamenda from the 14-18 of December 2009 for delegates from the North West and South West regions. According to the Sub Director, the use of local materials will help reduce the dependence on imported building materials like sand cement.
Speaking earlier at the Yaounde session, the Director of MIPROMALO, Prof. Uphie Chinje Melo, had told participants that the training had as major objective was aimed at acquainting public works controllers with the basic notions of construction using local material so as to enable public works staff effectively control constructions made with local material. This was because if someone did not master construction made with earth materials he or she could not effectively control it. The trainings she said fell within an agreement signed between the Ministry of Public Works and MIPROMALO.
Talking to the press after the opening ceremony in Yaounde, Prof Uphie Chinje Melo said the project was funded by the Ministry of Public Works to train the controllers on the field given that this ministry was responsible for new constructions in the country. She said in the six months road map of the Prime Minister to the Minister of Public Works it is stated that 50% of all constructions should be done with local materials.
Cognizant of the fact those public works controllers are used to sand cement blocks; the ministry thought it wise that they be trained on local materials. As local material promoters therefore, they had been solicited to carry out the training.
On how the training would ensure nation-wide coverage, the Director said MINPROMALO had decentralised centres in Bamenda and Garoua and moreso they had signed contracts with some 15 producers from all the 10 regions to make sure that they served as technology transfer centres in order to assure that these materials were available. Prof. Uphie also disclosed that MINPROMALO had mobile equipment that was at the disposal of those who wanted to build.
Even with this the Director said it was still not enough to satisfy every body. She was however optimistic that government will still finance some projects linked to that.
Like the director of MIPROMALO, the representative of the Minister of Public Works, NGUIMDO Augustave said the Ministry of Public Works, following the Prime Ministerial circular of the 12 of March 27 had decided to reinforce the capacity of its staff.
He admitted that the controllers from the ministry were not used to local materials and hence the seminar workshop was timely given that they will acquire some knowledge on how to control buildings with local materials. He added that houses constructed with local material did not absorb too much heat and therefore consumed less energy. Nguindo Augustave said his ministry would continue sensitisation efforts to contractors by 2011 so as to set up a local material production industry in Cameroon.
By Ndi Eugene
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