Local wood manufacturing company Bulkan Timber Works is confident that it has the resources and skills necessary to restore City Hall, the Neo-Gothic colonial building that once stood as one of the key landmarks of the city of Georgetown.
The company launched its showroom on Smyth Street, Georgetown on Saturday.
Howard Bulkan, who serves as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said the company plans to apply for government contracts, specifically building homes.
“We will justify your decision by giving good value for every sent of expenditure,” Mr Bulkan said.
Bulkan Timber Works along with sister company Superior Shingles have for decades been supplying high quality products to the Caribbean and international markets. Now with the launch of the showroom, the company is hoping to cash in on the local market.
“Both of these companies are export oriented; we have always exported between 95% to 99% of our production,” he stated.
“Our main strengths are supplying the highest quality pre-cut kiln lumber to specific lengths and widths, prefab panels for quick and easy assembly on site – ideal for erecting buildings in the interior whether homes or offices for forestry, mining police among others,” Mr Bulkan explained.
However, the businessman bemoaned the long and tedious process for exporting lumber and also called for the government’s intervention to make fuel for local manufacturers duty-free.
“Our country, with over 70% forest cover, should not be importing lumber.”
Additionally, Mr Bulkan called for enforcement of high standards for products manufactured locally.
Further, he recommended that only local lumber should be used for government funded projects. The company’s factory is located at Yarrowkabra on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
“We are good corporate citizens. Over the last 20-odd years, we have given away daily maybe over 40 tonnes of wallaba blocks to the villagers of Yarrowkabra and have created a vibrant charcoal making industry next door to us for mainly single parents.
“We give to the chicken farmers all of our saw dust and we give to the poor and less fortunate every single day of the year,” Mr Bulkan explained.
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond at the launch stated that the showroom is testimony to the confidence of doing business in Guyana.
“You are investing in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and that is noteworthy because the reality is we have to begin to explore opportunities within this period and to allow for business development and expansion,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Minister urged businesses to operate under strict and safe COVID-19 measures and assured that the government will continue to provide support for local manufacturers to explore international markets for their products.
The Minister also noted the impressive quality of the products made with readily available resources.
“Many of us grew up with the concept that foreign was better, there was a concept that local products were somehow inferior to those imported.
“As Minister with responsibility for industry and commerce, I categorically state that many of our local manufacturers are creating products that far exceed the quality of their international counterparts.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat said the government will also look to put regulations in place to protect and promote local businesses.
Minister Bharrat also spoke about the Government’s plan to reduce the cost of electricity which will lower the high manufacturing costs and allow local manufacturers to become more competitive. Bulkan Timber Works also employs over 80 Guyanese.