President Dr Irfaan Ali has revealed that as many as 20 companies are vying to establish concrete plants, a service that is in demand with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government’s housing drive and ambitious construction goals.
He made this revelation on Saturday, during his feature address at the opening of Italian company Saipem’s fabrication facility on Water Street, Georgetown. According to the President, the fact that these companies are interested in setting up operations is also testament to the growth of the economy.
“Already, the growth of cargo coming in to the port is exceeding the port facility. That’s another major area. We have to build a modern facility. Massive investment. Private Sector. These are the type of transformational things that would create growth.”
“Linking the new town to Georgetown. Creating opportunities around the new town. There must be a reason why about 20 large concrete plants want to establish in Guyana,” the President also said.
But with this in mind, the President questioned what might be holding back local entrepreneurs in other parts of the country from taking advantage of the unfolding opportunities an expanding economy brings.
“What hampers the local chambers of commerce in Region Three to bring together their business leaders and say, lets form a company and do a concrete plant. We have to learn to break down the individual approach to the collective approach.”
“That is how transformation takes place. The scale of development, transformation and investment is completely different from what we’re accustom to. That’s why we have to build a business model that speaks to that scale,” the President said.
With the coming national infrastructural developments, the Government has said it is working with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to up production of construction aggregates to over one million tonnes for 2021.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration is advancing a number of infrastructural projects aimed at improving the quality of life for all Guyanese. President Ali has committed to the construction of a new Demerara River Bridge and the new four-lane road from that bridge to Parika, East Bank Essequibo. Hundreds of communities across the country are expected to see new and improved road networks along with other infrastructural projects.
Through collaboration with the Government of Suriname, the Government here will also be embarking on the construction of the first-ever bridge across the Corentyne River, connecting the two South American nations.
The Ogle to Haags Bosch road project is also in the cards. A massive housing drive is also underway that targets some 5000 homes, for this year. The Government also intends to allocate some 10,000 house lots by end of this year.
There have been some less than smooth attempts to fill this demand for construction materials. It had previously been reported that foreign company Superior Concrete Inc had set up an illegal concrete plant at Houston Estates on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD). According to the reports, the company had set up operations at Houston without the requisite governmental approvals.
One of the Directors, Richard Austin Shamlin, was given 24 hours to leave Guyana earlier this month. Shamlin had overstayed his time on his visitor’s visa. He was the second Director to be ordered to leave Guyana.
Shamlin was hostile to Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal when he, along with officials from the CH&PA, went to the location to serve a third contravention order. Further, Shamlin demanded that the Minister, CH&PA officials and the media leave the premises. However, the Minister ignored him and engaged the media.
The other Director of Superior Concrete Inc, Ian Jones, was instructed by the Immigration Department to depart Guyana by May 19. In Jones’s case, it was discovered that his service was terminated by his previous employer in the oil sector, but he remained in Guyana on the work permit.
He, too, got into an altercation with housing officials, and according to Croal in his interview with the media, it was Jones who took the first order to desist that was served by housing officials and threw it to the ground in front of them.