Construction industry faces many constraints - RN Group chief

RN Group of Companies Chairman and Managing Director Ruwan Edirisinghe, Directors and officials at the press conference.PICTURE BY VIPULA AMERASINGHE
RN Group of Companies Chairman and Managing Director Ruwan Edirisinghe, Directors and officials at the press conference.PICTURE BY VIPULA AMERASINGHE

The government’s regulatory framework is not favourable for the local construction industry at present. Red tape and the bureaucracy has a negative impact on the well-being of the industry and hampers the progress of a sector that could contribute hugely to economic development, RN Group of Companies, Chairman/Managing Director Ruwan Edirisinghe told a media briefing to mark the 20th anniversary of the company in Colombo last week.

“The company reached the M1 category in the construction field in nine years. Today it is a C1 category company and there only about 10 to 15 companies in this category. We are proud about our progress over the past two decades,” he said.

The government gives prominence to FDIs, but local direct investments (LDIs) are not given due recognition. This should be changed, as LDIs also play an equally important role in the economy, he said. Being in the top most category, the Group has invested over Rs. 4 billion in a number of development projects. It has generated over 2,000 employment opportunities so far.

While acknowledging that there is a dearth of skilled workers in the construction industry, Edirisinghe said that they do not feel the shortage as most of their workers have been hired on a permanent basis.

“Most of our workers have been taken on a permanent basis and have been with the company for many years. Therefore, we do not have a huge workforce shortage,” he said. The Group has won over 25 awards including best contractor award in 2006.

“Winning awards is easy, but retaining the top position is not. We strive to do our best and continue our good work. Our strength is our quality. We focus on continuous improvement to remain at the top,” he said.

“The company does not have any immediate plans to venture abroad as we have sufficient projects at hand in the country at present. The company always reached the yearly targets of projects and volumes and there is no immediate need for us to venture out,” Edirisinghe said. The RN Group also exports construction related products to countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam. It provides technologically advanced, quality construction solutions through six specialized companies of the Group.- SJ

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