Govt in talks with private sector to ramp up supply of construction materials

– Finance Minister

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh has said the Government recognises that high costs and low supply of construction materials are ongoing concerns, and the administration is working to address them.  

He made those statements during a live Facebook interview with the ‘Guyanese Critic’ on Monday.

Minister Singh said challenges in the global marketplace, such as the cost of shipping, are only transitory, and that the market will regulate itself at some point. In the interim, the Government will do what it can to facilitate improvements in supply and cost.

“We are tackling this from multiple channels. First of all, we’ve taken off the taxes from most construction materials… But secondly, we’re also working with the private sector.”

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh

Dr. Singh said the Government has a long track record of working closely with the private sector, which it is tapping to encourage additional sources of supply for construction material like steel and cement. He said the private sector has been exploring those options.

“There is going to be a tremendous construction boom in Guyana, not just as a result of public sector activity, the buildings, the roads, the bridges, et cetera, the Government is building, but also on the private sector side.

You know we will have multiple hotels that are going to start constructing now. You are going to have people taking up their house lots and starting to build their homes.”

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali made similar statements to the private sector during the launch of a Saipem offshore construction facility at Water Street, on June 5.

At that event, he said there are attempts to set up as many as 20 large concrete plants in Guyana. Though the Government wants to see the supply of construction materials increase, the President asked why locals cannot be the ones starting up and owning such plants.

“What hampers the local chambers of commerce in Region Three to bring together their business leaders and say ‘Let’s form a company and let’s build a concrete plant in Region 3?’” The President said Guyanese businesses must address these needs by breaking down their individual approach, in favour of a collective approach. The President encouraged the formation of consortia to meet the new scale of needed investments.