Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister responsible for Physical Planning in the Nevis Island Administration, reports on the construction sector.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – The Department of Physical Planning has recorded a steady number of applications for construction projects so far for 2020, which indicates a buoyant construction sector on the island, according to Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister responsible for Physical Planning in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).

While speaking at an NIA town hall meeting at the Albertha Payne Community Centre on August 6, Minister Brand revealed comparative statistics for construction applications for January to June over the past six years.

“Between the months of January and June 2020, we have seen 120 applications that were submitted to the Planning Department and 97 were approved. Of those 97 approved, 70 have started construction.

“In 2015, over the same period we saw some 55 approvals,” said Brand. In 2016, we saw 55 buildings started. In 2017, we saw 84. In 2018, we saw 62, and in 2019 we saw 88.”

Hon. Brand pointed out the construction sector is a critical area not only to jump-start the economy from the downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to create some much needed employment.

“I am very much encouraged by the sustainability of the construction sector at the moment,” said Brand. “This is a good sign as it relates to opportunities for employment.

“It also will give some buoyancy to the hardware businesses and is a good indicator that persons are seeking financing through our various financial institutions.”

Highlighting the NIA’s stimulus package of concessions offered for the construction sector as part of the government’s response to the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said he is hopeful that persons would take advantage of it and construct their homes and businesses.

“We are now seeing that the construction sector is continuing to hold its own and I believe it’s a win-win situation for all stakeholders and the economy on a whole,” he concluded.