Contractors association seeking to create more openings for small operators

The newly established General Contractors Association of Guyana (GCAG) will be exploring means through which smaller contractors can have more ready access to state contracts for jobs that fall within their operating capacity, founder member of the organization, Neil Cort-Rogers has told Stabroek Business.

He declined to disclose the precise strategies the newly formed association plans to use to narrow the gap, but said that part of the focus would be on lobbying to ensure that small contractors secure more access to government contracts “assuming that they have the capacity to deliver.”

The advent of the GCAG comes in the wake of concerns that have been expressed by a number of local contractors over what they say is far too limited access to government jobs through the tender process.

Meanwhile, Cort-Rogers told Stabroek Business that the GCAG will also be seeking to secure a quota of emergency contracts and to advocate for projects issued to overseas contractors to have attached to them conditionalities that include particular volumes of local sub-contractors and labour force.

The GCAG will also be advocating for the standardized grading of contractors by embracing the micro, small, medium and large contractor categories and that the proposed grading is likely to be based on turnover.

Cort-Rogers said that the GCAG will also be seeking to secure “business and financing support” for its members by seeking to have arrangements in place to enable access to funds for the mobilization and execution of projects. GCAG will also be seeking to negotiate lines of credit for qualified contractors with local financial institutions.

And according to Cort-Rogers, the GCAG will also be seeking the creation of a Construction Industrial Licence Board designed to ensure “a measure of regulation” of the sector. The association envisages that the board will be responsible for the issuance and renewal of licences periodically and for monitoring the performance of contractors to ensure that they adhere to laid down standards. “Our concern, primarily, is with the creation and maintenance of standards that are sufficiently high to ensure the integrity of the contractor whilst guaranteeing at the same time that the consumer is satisfied,” he said.

GCAG will also be seeking to provide support for its members in the filling of tenders and other documents pertaining to doing business in the sector.

Cort-Rogers also said that the   GCAG is also interested in working with the University of Guyana and local technical institutes to provide training that would enable the upgrading of contractors and other operators in the sector. “Our concern is not only with established contractors but with specific tradesmen including carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers all of whom are part of the family of tradesmen,” Cort-Rogers said.

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