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City chamber tells govt to order BK’s stones

BK Quarry

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Tuesday urged government to give BK International a fair chance to prove that it can satisfy local stone demand, in the wake of claims that there is a shortage.

“In this particular case, the Ministry of Public Works should concede the benefit of the doubt to BK International and take the company up on its stated public position that it can sufficiently supply the domestic market with stones if the requisite demands are made,” said the city business organisation in a statement.

Government has pegged its local stone demand for capital projects and housing at just around 97,000 tons monthly but BK’s Chief Executive Officer, Brian Tiwarie has said that the figure is just about 30,000 tons.

In the face of threats by government to import stone from the Caribbean to meet local demand at an average price of GUY$7,000 to GUY$7,500 per ton, the GCCI cautioned against moves by government to tinker with the market.

“It is our principled and fundamental belief that if our local private sector companies can supply any goods or services adequately and which meets the necessary quality threshold then the government should not intervene and compete or cause market distortion by importing such goods and services,” said the Chamber.

The GCCI urged government, the Public Works Ministry and BK International to ease the stone “friction’ and reach a win-win settlement in the wider interest of the infrastructure, construction and building sectors in Guyana.

The business organisation recommended that the Public Works Ministry and the private sector to assess and evaluate the issue and arrive the best possible “common ground” in the interest of Guyanese.

BK International has attributed the current cost of stone at GUY$8,500 per ton to rise costs of fuel, maintenance and spare parts. Government has said that locally produced stone has been selling for up v to GUY$9,000 per ton VAT inclusive. Imported stone could be sold for as much as GUY$8,700 VAT inclusive

That company, regarded as Guyana’s largest stone producer, has repeatedly stated that it has the capacity to meet local demand. Tiwarie has said that from the moment the first load of government-imported stone lands in Guyana, his company would be selling its products overseas.

On the contrary, government has cited the rising price, the importation and statistics to show that there is a shortage of the vital construction material.