‘Regulate Engineering Practice’
Ing Magnus Lincoln Quarshie
The President of the Ghana Institution of Engineers, Ing Magnus Lincoln Quarshie has stated that the delay in regulating the engineering practice in the country has led to the lost of millions of Ghana Cedis and many preventable deaths due to shoddy engineering works and services that have resulted in market fires, collapse of buildings and regular flooding in the country.
Ing Lincoln Quarshie, in an interview, said, ‘Although there has been no official public disclosure of the causes of most of the above disasters that have become a regular occurrence in Ghana, one need not be a rocket scientist to identify that something is not right with engineering practice in Ghana,’ Ing. Lincoln Quarshie said.
When asked about what pertains in other jurisdiction, Ing. Quarshie said that in many developed countries such as Italy, Spain, America etc, the collapse of a structure may immediately lead to the querying and possible arrest of the Engineering Practitioners (professional engineers, engineering technologist, craftsmen) involved with the design and supervision of works. In Ghana however, no one is questioned and no one is held responsible for professional negligence. The level of complexity of the challenge determines the practitioner required and who bears ultimate responsibility.
‘Every developed country or society is underpinned by discipline, great engineering works, great engineering services and a strictly regulated engineering practice. ‘What we in Ghana have not fully appreciated is the fact that Ghana like all developing countries spends a huge proportion of its investments on engineering works and engineering services such as construction of roads, power plants, telecommunication, water plants, schools, hospitals etc. The returns from these investments remain in doubt as the human development indices do not seem to improve proportionally’, the President of Ghana Engineers added.
Ing. Magnus Lincoln Quarshie revealed that any country that does not regulate the practice of engineering stands to lose not only money but human life, adding that most often when a medical doctor makes a mistake, one human life is lost but when an engineer makes a mistake, the chances are that many people will die.
‘The Ghana Institution of Engineers is among the oldest professional bodies in Ghana. The laws of Ghana require that all engineering practitioners must be registered and licensed to practice. Unfortunately like many laws on our books, this is not being enforced. Unqualified persons therefore get awarded engineering jobs and when there are obvious engineering failures, no one gets penalized. Registered Engineers conduct themselves unprofessionally and no one questions them either.
‘The benefits of regulating engineering practice as provided by NLCD 143 and ACT 819 are many. The regulation requires the registration and regulation of professional engineers, engineering technologists, technician engineers and craftsmen. For example, presently hiring a craftsman, e.g mason, electrician welder etc. is a big gamble. Unlike some jurisdictions where all manner of craftsmen are registered and regulated and thus the general public has a fair idea what to expect such is not the case in Ghana.
‘Effective regulation ensures improved quality of work and service through continuous trade development.
‘Craftsmen receive instructions on new technologies and apply this knowledge to their trade for the benefit of society. On the other hand this creates the platform for the tax widening bracket and allows the tax obligations of each practitioner to be better monitored,’ the President of Ghana Institution of Engineers noted.
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