According to figures published by the Venezuelan Chamber of Construction (CVC) the paralysis of the sector stands at around 92%. The construction of large public works and buildings are something of the past and currently the sector survives thanks to small remodeling of commercial premises and restaurants.
By Correspondent lapatilla.com
The President of the Venezuelan Chamber of Construction, Francisco Pimentel, explained that, according to a survey they carried out, the investment amounts to needed complete these works are around 200,000 dollars, which translates into really small projects.
During a press conference in Valencia, Pimentel recalled that in the best of times, the construction sector managed to contribute more than 7% to the Gross Domestic Product, but now it does not even represent 1%. “After the oil industry, construction was the most important (economic) sector in the country,” he said.
He specified that in long ago, they accounted for more than 1,700,000 direct jobs. However, due to the stoppage of major infrastructure works, today the number has been reduced to around 30,000 workers.
The president of the CVC stressed that the reactivation of the sector also involves the availability of bank financing to be able to carry out new projects.
“We are all crying out to the Government that we need an opening in financing and not only in the construction sector to promote new works, we also need this so the citizens who need to have access to this financing to be able to acquire a home,” he said.
On the other hand, Pimentel pointed out that the optimal functioning of public services, such as water and electricity, is required to have a better production.
“In Carabobo you suffer from blackouts, so how can you have a productive industry when you have it limited to a few hours of production?” he questioned.
On May 17th, the president of the Carabobo State Engineers Center (CIEC), Franklin López, reported that Carabobo State has an installed capacity to generate more than 3,700 megawatts (MW) in six thermoelectric centers, but these are currently only generating between 70 MW and 80 MW, of the 850 MW needed to meet demand.
He pointed out that in previous years, when there was more activity in the Industrial Zone of Valencia, the electric load used to be around 1,600 megawatts.
Modification of laws
The President of the CVC also stated that some legal instruments such as the Mortgage Debtor Protection Law and the Law against Real Estate Fraud must be modified. These, he asserted, limit the development of activity in the sector.
Pimentel explained that article 23 of the Mortgage Debtor Protection Law refers to the fact that homes can only be bought and sold in an amount set in bolivars, which he considers unfeasible in a country that has become “dollarized” (every transaction amount is set in U.S. dollars and is paid in a hard currency, small transactions are paid at the day’s exchange rate if accepted by the parties involved).
“It (the law) clearly establishes that you cannot sell homes in foreign currency. In a country that has become ‘dollarized’, I cannot set a price for a home in bolivars today, to deliver it two or three years later, which is what any real estate development may take to build. That law complied with a specific moment in which the bolivar was a stable currency and this was possible, but in this economic process, that law must be modified because this is not possible,” he argued.
In addition, he indicated that in the case of the Law Against Real Estate Fraud “there is an article that establishes that the cost of housing will be given by the cost of the land, the cost of construction and the cost of financing. It does not establish a profit for the businessman, for the promoter of that house. Builders are not little sisters of charity, every company works to have an economic benefit, that happens to be able to support our families and workers, so it is necessary to make these modifications on that legal base.”
Point to export
Pimentel affirmed that the materials that are being produced in the country are sufficient to cover the demand for the remodeling works.
However, he pointed out that when large construction works are carried out again, it would be necessary to establish alliances between the public and private sectors, since the main iron and cement industry is in the hands of the State. “To have a revival, we need these companies to accompany us in this growth,” he added.
The President of the CVC stressed that the country has great potential to export raw (construction) materials, so he thought that this should be the north. “This will generate more wealth for the country, benefits for the citizen, more jobs,” he said.
For his part, Vicente Berzal, incoming President of the Chamber of Construction in Carabobo, assured that Carabobo State does not escape the reality facing the sector on a national scale.
He said that for the period 2023 – 2025, the new directive of the Chamber of Construction in Carabobo will focus on the education and training of its members, because currently the activity of the construction companies is very low.
“These other economic sectors such as shops, food, pharmacies, have generated some work for us. Construction is working thanks to the growth of these other sectors, but our own sector, building homes, shopping centers. That, is paralyzed,” reiterated Berzal.