Categorized | National News

BCA President Wants Increased Foreign Direct Investment

During what is considered a very soft season for the construction industry, Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands is certain that one way the industry can be revived is by the government’s engagement in more foreign direct investment projects.

The BCA president shared his sentiments with The Bahama Journal during an interview yesterday.

As indicated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, there was some degree of momentum in economic activity last year due to a number of construction- related jobs linked to foreign investment projects in the capital and throughout the Family Islands.

However, the BCA president feels this was not sufficient for the construction industry itself.

“The focus is in partnering with the local contractors and investors so that the opportunities for money to stay locally and spin around locally are enhanced,” Mr. Sands said.

“What we’ve found out and didn’t like is that projects like Baha Mar and the Pointe, while they were significant in terms of the number and the dollar value, the amount of residual income that was in construction was small in comparison.”

Last year, the construction industry’s residential segment contracted by three per cent and the commercial side slid sharply by 51 per cent.

In light of this, the BCA president insists the government’s recently projected construction projects are a cause for excitement among individuals in that field.

These initiatives would include the ‘Lease to Own Project’ and the ‘Jump Start Revitalization Project’.

“The Lease to Own Project is to acquire or enter into relationships with the bank to secure the mortgages before they go totally into default, allowing homeowners to continue to lease the home until they own the home or new persons come in and lease the home to own it,” he said.

“At the same time some of these houses as you look around New Providence are in disrepair. Homeowners had to leave, whether through the hurricane we had. So they need some repair. So they know that to come in, bring contractors to the table, and repair the homes to be rented or leased to own.

“Secondly, they (the government) spoke about areas like Over-the-Hill how they want to jump start or revitalize those communities by bringing some needed attention to those dilapidated houses that the homeowners just don’t have the capital resources to make improvements to their houses.”

Mr. Sands further suggested that the Minnis administration gets started on the reconstruction and refurbishment of dilapidated government buildings; one such building being the Clarence A. Bain building.

Meantime, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister is expected to meet with workers in the industry tomorrow to discuss opportunities moving forward.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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