Construction activities in NE to boost industry:
Major development projects in the pipeline
There are major development projects in the pipeline - the majority
in the road sector and the work related to the Uthuru Wasanthaya and
Nagenahira Udanaya would have a positive impact on the construction
These activities would help build a better future for the
construction industry, said Head of Operations, Chamber of Construction
Industries Sri Lanka, Ananda Weerasekara.
Construction workers at a site.
Construction activities in the North and the East will boost the
industry. The grants by funding agencies such as JAICA and the ADB will
help development projects in these areas and thereby create a demand for
construction related activities, he said.
“We need to give an equal share in construction projects to the
Northern and Eastern contractors. At least 40 percent of the work should
be given to them to create a level playing field. We should encourage
them to join the major players in joint ventures and this would help
develop the construction industry”, he said.
Construction industry related material prices have increased over the
years, but there has been no substantial increase in prices. Cement
prices are stable at present. The scarcity in granite metal and sand is
a drawback, he said.
Construction activities are going on apace in the sectors of highways
and new projects. According to the contractors and consultants there are
a few jobs in hand and construction activities are not distributed
equally. The lack of adequate construction work and delays in payment
are a setback in the industry, he said.
Over 400,000 direct and 600,000 indirect employment opportunities
have been generated through the industry. Nearly 60 percent of the
direct jobs are at stake due to insufficient work. Due to lack of work,
the contractors are unable to pay the suppliers and manufacturers. In
turn they are unable to sustain the business and this vicious circle
affects the country’s economy, he said.
The demand for contractors in the Middle East too has decreased. This
has resulted in unemployment. However, labour costs have not changed
drastically over the years and remain unchanged at present due to low
demand, he said.
There are no major activities in relation to construction work in
Colombo. Work on many residential consortia has come to a halt due to
various reasons. There should be a system for banks to come in as
investors to overcome the problem of funding, he said.
There are around 3,600 contractors in Sri Lanka. The employment share
of the industry is 6 percent of the total labour force. The downturn in
the construction industry is a temporary situation and would ease in the
near future, he said.
Policy makers should introduce structural changes and a legal
framework to divide construction work equally. There should be a more
transparent procurement process for the construction industry to move
forward, he said.
At a glance
* Equal share in construction work in the
North and the East necessary
* Over one million jobs generated
* Around 3,600 contractors in Sri Lanka