GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The Guyana government on Monday confirmed that Jamaican companies had responded positively to the country’s request for foreign supplies to export stones to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country even as it acknowledged that the demand for the material remains greater than is available.
Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, told pro-government online publication, News Room, that the booming construction sector has resulted in stone and sand suppliers significantly increasing their prices and that the Irfaan Ali government remains committed to engaging suppliers to resolve the issue.
“They have started to receive supply…so far I know the supplies that came are from Jamaica.
“We have contracts and we have engaged people. We have thousands of tonnes that have come in. I don’t think what is here is anywhere near to satisfy the demand but we received supplies,” Edghill said.
Since last year, Guyana has been experiencing shortages in cement and stone largely due to external supply chain challenges. That the situation has worsened with the Ukraine/ Russia crisis further constraining global supply chain efforts.
Edghill said that suppliers from Canada and other countries were expected to help meet the demand of the government’s construction needs, reducing the pressure placed on the local suppliers and importers.
He warned that business owners who exploit customers may lose business due to their unfair prices.
“Right now, through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, permission has been given for people to operate both sand and laterite. That engagement continues and there is no known shortage of sand or laterite or loam at this time,” he said.
In February, Edghill said the demand for materials to meet the level of infrastructural work in Guyana had caused stone and sand suppliers to significantly hike the prices.
“The fact of the matter is because of the volume and the magnitude of construction, both as it relates to government programmes, as well as the private sector, there is a demand for stones that is beyond what the local carriers can purchase, beyond the quotas that they are producing and you add that to what the importers are bringing in, we still had a shortfall,” he said then.
Guyana has been experiencing a construction boom as the country uses the revenue derived from its newly discovered oil and energy industry.