Gov’t in talks with foreign suppliers to satisfy high demand for stone, sand


By Lazeena Yearwood

High demand for materials to meet the level of infrastructural work in Guyana has caused stone and sand suppliers to significantly hike the prices but Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, has assured that the government has already approached foreign suppliers to help meet the demand.

Minister Edghill told the News Room that suppliers from Canada and other countries will meet the demands of the government’s construction needs, reducing the pressure placed on the local suppliers and importers.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill [Photo: News Room/August 10, 2022]
“The fact of the matter is because of the volume and the magnitude of construction, both as it relates to government programmes, as well as the private sector, there is a demand for stones that is beyond what the local carriers can purchase, beyond the quotas that they are producing and you add that to what the importers are bringing in, we still had a shortfall,” Minister Edghill explained to the News Room on Wednesday following a sitting of the National Assembly.

He also said the Ministry of Public Works has recognised this shortage and advertised for suppliers of aggregate and crusher run stones. Already, the suppliers are responding and the ministry is awaiting confirmation that the listed stone types will be made available.

According to Edghill, the high demand has caused local suppliers to increase prices but he noted that once the demand is satisfied, the local suppliers can retire their ‘get rich quick’ attempts.

Stones and sand are being sold far more expensive than the actual value and the minister said the businesses that are exploiting customers have the capacity to supply the materials but choose to be unfair.

“I think what we have is elements of the demand being greater than the supply and we also have the element where some people are seeking to restrict the supply so they can cash in on higher prices because of the demand.

“I have to say to the private sector, you can’t use this occasion to destroy other citizens; we have to be able to keep a flow and the supply coming and the interventions that are bringing in stones from other places,” the Public Works Minister warned.

He explained that the government will purchase stone from other sources for its projects so that the stone importers and local suppliers will not be burdened with overwhelming demand.

“We are going out to buy stone for our project. Whatever is happening is not going to be permanent and I hope the people who are using the present situation to make it into a cash couch, get rich quick syndrome, lets hog it all, understand that Guyanese are people that do not forget,” Edghill noted.

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