Guyana will host its first International Building Exposition next month and Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali believes this will create opportunities for the building and construction industry in the country to expand.
The event, which will run from August 6-8, at the Guyana National Stadium, was launched yesterday at the Princess Hotel. Ali said that so far the response to the event has been good and identified Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and China as some of the countries that will be represented. The event will also feature several educational seminars. Among the subjects to be addressed at these seminars are quality issues, regulation and guidelines and alternative energy technologies.
Ali underscored the importance of the construction industry to the country, and noted the potential of the industry to transform the country’s economy. The building exposition, Ali said, will help to “create linkages” between businesses in Guyana and other regional and international enterprises.
Ali underscored the government’s commitment to the sector, but emphasized the need for a strong support from the private sector and financial institutions. He said that in recent times there has been greater collaboration in this regard. He noted that there were several initiatives that these stakeholders could collaborate on. Among these initiatives, is an effort to attract retired overseas-based Guy-anese.
The minister said that many Guyanese wish to return home after they retire and that this could provide great business to the building and construction sector.
In a brief address, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ramesh Dookhoo saluted the Housing Ministry for arranging the initiative. He said that for years the private sector had recognized the need for “more serious exhibitions” which carried a “more international flavour”.
Dookhoo said that in recent years, Guyana had been experiencing a building boom, and noted that during last year, Guyana was one of only two countries in Caricom to experience growth in the building sector. Belize was the other country he identified. During 2009, Dookhoo said, the engineering and construction sector grew by 1.5 per cent and contributed 11 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The PSC Chairman also urged individuals in the construction and engineering fields to look at forming partnerships with larger companies in the Caribbean, noting that this could help them to improve their current capacity.
The event is being organized by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) with support from several private sector entities.