, Sr Lanka’s largest ever building and construction industry related exhibiting -“Construct 2008” was declared open by the Minister of Construction and Engineering services, Dr Rajitha Senaratne and the guests of honor at the opening ceremony were Piyasena Gamage, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Jacques Villemain, Deputy Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka; Richard Vokes, Country Director, Asian Development Bank and Mohamed Ali Janah, President, Maldives Association of Construction Industry .

Dr Senaratne as the Chief Guest said that with the ground breaking construction projects at national level such as power plants, water supply projects, ports, airport, flyovers, bridges, expressways have been commissioned with the participation of the members of the NCASL.

He said that some of these projects have been directly executed by the members of NCASL and the others with the participation of the foreign construction companies. According to official statistics the construction sector has contributed Rs hundred and fifty thousand million to the Gross Domestic Product which is 6.4 percent of the GDP.

He said that if mining and quarrying which has relationship to the construction sector is added, the GDP share would be much higher. he said that the annual cement consumption has increased by 10.7 percent over the previous year which shows that the construction sector has tremendously grown in the recent past.

Dr Senaratne said that the construction sector has contributed to the employment share of the national economy by providing 543,000 direct employment and around another 600,000 indirect employment opportunities. The sector contributed 61 percent of the Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation (GDFCF) which shows that the construction is an important base of the national economy.

To beat the escalating high costs of imported building material, Mohammad AliJanah, President, Maldives Association of Construction Industry (MACI) suggested that Sri Lanka and Maldives jointly import in bulk such as cement, steel and other items.

He made this suggestion at the opening ceremony of the ‘Construct 2008’ Exhibition organized by the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL) which was held from 8th to 10th August at the BMICH. Mr Alijanah was present at the opening ceremony as a Guest of Honour.

He said that in this Globalization era everyone has room to grow and prosper and in importing in this manner both countries could benefit by the economies of scale and increase their profit margins.

NCASL first organized this exhibition eight years ago with only 47 stalls but every year since then is very successful and this year there were nearly 300 stalls and all the areas of building construction was covered. The stall holders have exhibited all the up-to-date modern construction material and latest technologies that are used internationally.

ADB Country Director Mr Vokes said that since 1968 the Bank has been assisting in Development Projects in Sri Lanka and a amount so far disbursed stands at US $ 4.5 billion and the amount that is expected to be disbursed in next three years is estimated at 660 to 750 at an annual rate of US $ 220 to 250.

He said that these funds will be spent on infrastructure development such as water supply and sanitation, road and power in all parts of the country including the East and some parts of the North.

Mr Vokes said that the ADB is concerned of high inflationary conditions in the country that would affect the building construction industry and to facilitate some kind of relief ABD is considering the introduction of ICTAD price adjustment formula for contracts of more than six months – less then one year which would imply that price escalations to be allowed. He said that the formula is still under consideration. What is now applicable is for projects that are more than one year’s duration.

Mahanama Jayamanne, Chairman, “Construct 2008” Exhibition Organizing Committee expressed his confidence that this would be a positive networking platform and resource centre for all construction industry related players in the whole of the Asia Pacific region. He said that the main objective of this exhibition is to develop Sri Lanka’s construction industry by introducing world-class products, services and state of the art technology, specially since “Construction 2008” has been viewed as the number one networking platform for all buyers and suppliers in the industry.

– Asian Tribune –