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Pratt: Construction sector needs more government injection

While foreign investment projects are keeping the construction sector afloat, the president of the Bahamian Contractors’ Association (BCA) said the industry needs more of an injection from the government for capital infrastructure projects.

Michael Pratt said foreign direct investment (FDI) can’t sustain the industry alone.

“We need the government to help us by giving back their incentives where they create certain construction projects themselves, if you look at the (2019/2020 budget) report, that has almost been cut in half,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.

“We need to get that increased, because we need our contractors to continue to work to keep these businesses and employees going.”

The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) in its Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report for April states, “A number of varied-scale foreign investment projects, in both the capital and the Family Islands, will continue to underpin construction sector activity.”

The government has allocated $93.7 million for capital expenditure in the Ministry of Public Works for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, less than half of the $200 million Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister has said is needed for capital projects.

The most recent information on the construction sector showed that for the first three quarters of 2018 there were 315 new construction starts, eight of which were for public works, according to the Central Bank’s Quarterly Statistical Digest for May 2019.

There were 269 new residential construction starts and 38 commercial and industrial construction starts.

“It has been up, we see it in pockets and so I guess it’s average, and so we need the government to really support us in terms of helping us get the regulations done,” Pratt said.

“It’s probably going to be much of the same. But our job is to continue to collaborate with the government, with the foreign direct investors and with our contractors for the great opportunities that are here.”

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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