Building amid the gloom
Barbados’ construction industry might be on its knees in some regards, but it is not dead.
That much was evident during the past week as builders at several sites in urban Barbados accelerated work ahead of the traditional yearend shutdown of the sector.
For most of this year major construction companies have been complaining of a downturn and some have laid off workers, including the island’s two leading roadworks companies, C.O.Williams Construction Limited and Rayside Construction.
While Minister of Finance and economic affairs Chris Sinckler announced last week that a number of large infrastructural projects such as the new cruise facility and the Pierhead marina development were set to get under way soon, BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY observed that several others already under way were nearing completion.
These projects include the new Caribbean Examinations Council headquarters at Pine Plantation, St Michael, which is nearing completion. The CXC building is expected to cost $30 million and its construction is being funded by the National Insurance Scheme.
Also far advanced are Barbados Water Authority headquarters in The Pine, St Michael, new NHC high rise units at the Grotto, St Michael, a new Chefette restaurant at Welches, St Thomas, and the adjacent Welches mall, which was being painted last week.
In its review of the economy for the first nine months of this year, the Central Bank of Barbados said the construction sector was “expected to recover in 2014 as new tourism-related projects, a cruise pier and other Government infrastructure get under way”.
Activity in the sector between January and September this year was worth $47.6 million compared to $54.9 million last year. The overall contribution in 2012 was $71 million compared to $76.7 million (2011), $69.4 million (2010), $76.7 million (2009), $93.8 million (2008), $98.9 million (2007), and $98.9 million (2006).
The Central Bank estimated its overall average contribution to GDP to be 6.6 per cent annually, fifth behind other non-traded sectors distribution (22.2 per cent), finance and other services (20.3 per cent), government (16.7 per cent), and transport and so on (9.8 per cent).
Government officials have said they are pinning some of their hopes on Barbados economic recovery in 2014 and beyond on big construction projects, including some in the tourism sector, and others relating to road construction. (SC)