Venezuelan builders urge US$60bn for infrastructure

Venezuelan builders urge US$60bn for infrastructure
Published: 25 April 2012


The Venezuelan Construction Chamber said Tuesday the country needs to spend US$60bn on maintaining existing infrastructure and to double investment in new projects.

"A country's development cannot be promoted without investment in infrastructure," the group's head, Gilbert Dao, said, noting that Venezuela is currently devoting no more than 3% of GDP to infrastructure.
During one of the organisation's seminars, Dao emphasised that other countries in the region such as Chile, Colombia and Panama invest "at rates equivalent to 7% of GDP" in new infrastructure.

"If, on the one hand, investment in new infrastructure is not being made and, on the other, more and more money is needed to repair existing infrastructure, we have an idea of the magnitude of the crisis," he said.

In addition to the investment problems, he said that the sector "is suffering the consequences of a scarcity of inputs," mainly of iron and cement, which also has an effect on the level of employment."

"We're fully capable of employing 1.2m people," but due to the lack of materials "we (employ only) approximately 450,000," he added.

President Hugo Chavez's government has given priority to home construction within the framework of the so-called Great Housing Mission Venezuela, which was launched in March 2011 with the goal of eliminating the housing deficit of 3m units by 2019.

Housing Minister Ricardo Molina said earlier this month that the government since that time has delivered almost 200,000 homes.

To reduce costs and accelerate the resolution of the problem, Chavez in February decreed that companies dedicated to the extraction, production, sales and transport of construction materials must give priority to building housing.