Bahamas Striping Group of Companies (BSGC) has raised $25 million of the $60 million it needs to complete a road improvement project slated for Exuma that will include verge cleaning, street signage, guard rail installations and sidewalks, a statement on the fundraising explained.
The project is being described as a public/private partnership (PPP) between the BSGC subsidiary Caribbean Pavement Solutions (CPS) and the Bahamas government.
BSGC’s Executive Chairman Dominic Sturrup said in the statement that the funding was acquired and a PPP developed because there was no money in the government’s budget for this particular project.
“What drove us to explore this funding mechanism is approaching government time and again and hearing they wanted to give us the work but there was no money in the budget for it,” said Sturrup.
The statement added: “The PPP framework transfers risks, as well as rewards, to private sector partners who choose to collaborate with the government to design, finance and build crucial public infrastructure with private capital, as opposed to funds from the public purse.”
The $25 million was secured by Caribbean Pavement through the Jamaica-based Sygnus Credit Investments Limited (SCI), according to the statement.
The statement explained that the government will now be able to pay for the project over time due to the PPP. It added that the company will have to eventually acquire more funding to complete the project and fund others. It also said that this was the first time the company has had to seek outside investment to fund a public infrastructure project.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Sygnus Berisford Grey said in the statement that CPS was closely scrutinized to ensure that it would meet its debt repayment requirements.
“The key thing for us is it starts with the company and the individuals,” said Berisford.
“We invest in and provide credit to individuals and corporations that are run by very strong businesspeople, with strong governance and a strong reputation. Caribbean Pavement Solutions and its team fit this profile perfectly.”
The statement contended that Sygnus has provided funding for local projects before, explaining that the financial institution provided $9 million to rebuild the Eight Mile Rock West End government complex.
Sturrup said in the statement that this latest project for the group, a 45-mile highway improvement and infrastructural project, will modernize Exuma’s main roads and make them safer.
“The scope of work encompasses verge cleaning, street signage, guard rail installations and sidewalks,” the statement said.
“The project is expected to drive the island forward with updates to sea walls and the installation of new drainage wells to reduce flooding and water settling on the roadway, allowing the infrastructure to have a longer service life. The project is slated for completion in 2024.”
The statement added that the CPS will have to allocate $10 million to subcontractors, given the size of the project.
According to the statement, CPS is obligated to complete the project on time and within budget and scope “in order to see a return on investment”.
BSGC said it looks forward to expanding its footprint in Exuma, after securing an $8 million contract to construct ten miles of roads in Exuma in 2020.
That project required CPS to invest in a new $1 million mobile asphalt manufacturing plant that is still stationed on the island.
BSGC’s Managing Director Allen Albury said in the statement that Exuma has always been approached with a long-term vision by the company.
“We knew that ten miles of road was just a drop in the bucket for the number of roads and capital works that must be done,” said Albury.
“We believed additional work or expansion of the work would be an automatic outcome. As we projected, that’s what happened.”