By Synieka Thorne
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The government of Guyana is ramping-up its collaboration with the private sector to sustain the positive momentum of the country’s construction industry.
This announcement was made by president Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on the sidelines of the sod-turning ceremony for the construction of Demerara Bank Limited’s multi-million-dollar complex at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, Region Three.
One of the initiatives government will soon explore is the operation of a state-managed sand mining facility to reduce the deficit created by the increasing demand for sand. It is proposed that the facility will be managed by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) and the ministry of public works and, “it will also have to involve some partnership with the private sector because they have the equipment,” the president stated.
Noting the huge demand for sand as the country’s infrastructural development further expands, president Ali highlighted that the proposed public/private initiative “will bring some balance in terms of the prices as the boom in construction will put pressure on the supply side as demand is increasing rapidly.”
President Ali reminded that the country is currently facing shortages of plywood, sheetrock, and other materials. He said the shortages are a result of Guyana’s aggressive national housing initiative, hotels, and other infrastructural development.
“The problem is even on the international market now. There’s a shortage of plywood, sheetrock, so these are some of the challenges we were faced with,” he said.
Acknowledging the temporary challenges contractors are experiencing, the head of state explain ed that his administration is monitoring the situation, and working closely with major private sector operatives to reduce the delay in supply.
On the issue of plywood, the president said he was assured by Barama Company Limited, that efforts will be made to balance supply within three weeks.
“They [Barama Company] have assured me that because of the rain, they had implications in the supply from both of the factories, and that they are going to redouble their efforts to get the supply of log into the factory to bring the situation to some sort of balance,” he said.
As part of its emergency budget in September 2020, the PPP/C government had announced the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from locally produced building and construction materials including sand, stone, concrete blocks, plywood and logs. Further, in April 2022, the administration announced the removal of VAT from cement.