Stone suppliers protest CHEC Surinamese imports

first_img– as GMSA calls on Govt to protect local contentGovernment must do more to ensure that there is greater protection or consideration for local content when it comes to the implementation of foreign funded, or foreign executed contracts.This is the view held by President of the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA), Eon Caesar, who during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times on Thursday, confirmed that at least two local stone suppliers have lodged complaints given the news that a Suriname-based quarrying company has been awarded a mega contract to supply stones for a local project.Caesar was at the time making reference to the reported US$7.5 million contract awarded to Suriname’s State-owned mining company Grassalco, to supply some 300,000 tonnes of crushed stone over a 12-month period for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion project – currently being undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).Caesar told Guyana Times that while CHEC was a private company that would have to make its own decisions with regard to completing its project within the stipulated timeframe and specifications, the project was being funded by taxpayers and as such, it was imperative for Government to do more to protect local products.Speaking to the complaints lodged by at least two local suppliers, Caesar said even if it was a case that one of the companies could not meet the demand in terms of the amount of stones requested, at least both companies together could have met the quota.“Even if one could not supply all, both could have fulfilled the order,” Caesar said.According to international reports, Surinamese Grassalco and Zhong Da International Engineering Company will deliver the material in partnership to CHEC in Guyana.The contracts were reportedly signed by Grassalco’s Chief Executive Officer, Sergio Akiemboto; Zhong Da International Engineering Company General Manager Wu Qiong, and CHEC Project Manager Sun Wei.The Guyana CHEC Contract is reportedly the largest contract the State-owned company has signed with a foreign contractor. The issue of protecting local labour and businesses was catapulted into the limelight during the construction of the US$58 million Marriott Hotel where Guyanese labour and supplies were largely not used by the Chinese contractor.The matter was also recently raised again by representatives of the local Private Sector Commission (PSC) following the discovery of oil offshore Guyana by ExxonMobil. Local content in that case has been defined as the quantum/percentage of locally produced materials, personnel, financing, goods and services rendered to the oil industry and which can be measured in monetary terms.Presidential Adviser Eric Phillips recently called for the necessary legislation to be put in place to protect local content.Phillips said if managed strategically and if good governance became the norm in Government and the Private Sector, exponential growth in Guyana’s economy was a real possibility with the discovery of oil.He had called for a Local Content Bill, which he argued was “an absolute necessity at this time during the early days of oil exploration… Exxon and other multinational entities who occupy the value chain of oil production and associated industries should know from day one that Guyanese must be involved in the initial spend to produce oil and later as oil is produced.”last_img read more