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Give more major projects to local contractors - Zacca

Published:Tuesday | March 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), has restated a call for more local contractors to be employed on major projects to drive economic growth.

Speaking at the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica's (IMAJ) Annual Awards Banquet, held at the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Saturday, he said the marginalisation of local contractors has played a part in stifling development.

"We are calling for an overhaul of the system, aimed at benefiting local contractors," Zacca declared.

He said regulations relating to the granting of government projects placed a lot of restrictions on local contractors, and along with bureaucracy, was killing off the local industry.

He added, "It is creating smaller groups of larger and larger companies instead of spreading the business at the base of society ... . We have to become a nation that will put our people first."

Likewise, president of the IMAJ, Carvel Stewart, again expressed his dissatisfaction at the treatment shown to local contractors.

"The reality is that there has been a degrading of the industry, coupled with the marginalisation of a large number of contractors. In fact, a large cohort have been totally removed from the system and are now destitute," he said.

"The law posits that there should be a 50/50 split, but when you go to the site, who is counting? he asked. "We too often look at short-term gains and not at the long-term losses."