Omni optimistic about construction sector despite downturns
Despite continued contractions in the construction industry which fell 0.7 per cent during the April to June quarter, local infrastructure developer Omni Industries Limited said it remains upbeat about the future progress of the sector and its resilience.
Following improved final out-turns of 0.7 per cent recorded by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin), which came in at some 2.6 percentage points less than the projected 3.3 per cent decline previously announced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the sector, which during the COVID-19 pandemic produced strong out-turns, continues to lag amid reduced civil and other construction activities.
Earlier in August, the PIOJ in its report on the preliminary estimates of performance for the sector said that real value added was impacted as a result of continued downturns in activities precipitated by reduced capital expenditure on civil engineering activities and an over 20 per cent decline in housing starts by the National Housing Trust (NHT). Similarly, some developers have also blamed high interest rates and above-normal inflation as the root cause of the dips.
Omni’s Managing Director Patrick Kumst, commenting on the downturns experienced by the sector within the last few quarters, said the reduced output does not take away from its potential nor does it remove value from an industry which continues to contribute to economic growth through job creation, infrastructural advancement and new investments.
“Omni has supported every major construction development in Jamaica in the last few decades, and we’ve witnessed the tangible impact that the sector has had on the lives of citizens. I’m optimistic that the construction industry will regain its advantage and Omni will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting its progress,” he said.
Omni, at almost half a century old, and standing as a key operator in the industry, said it has over the many years carved out a space for itself in the local market, supplying PVC pipes and fittings to support safe drinking water distribution, drainage, sewer systems, storm water management, plumbing, and irrigation in the island. The company, which has also supported some of the country’s largest developments and infrastructural projects including the Highway 2000 and Southern Coastal Highway Projects, the Falmouth cruise port and the build-out of a number of major hotels, also serves the National Water Commission (NWC) as one of its largest clients, helping the entity to provide reliable water supply to hundreds of communities across the island.
The company, now actively working with its stakeholders across government and other infrastructure engineering partners, said it has been focused on completing projects in Old Harbour and Portmore.
“Omni is motivated by a vision where every stakeholder in the sector benefits. We believe our role is vital as we are often the first company that building contractors and developers call because all projects are ‘built on us’, simply because our products are installed before the first drop of cement is poured,” the managing director noted.
Kumst, in further sharing an outlook for the sector, said that while it continues to naturally undulate, the commendable growth seen in past years is likely to return as building activities pick up and more projects come on stream.
“The construction industry is inherently tied to the broader economy and is subject to fluctuations driven by various factors, such as economic growth, interest rates, and the demand for housing or commercial buildings. For the past several years, Jamaica has seen consistent growth in the construction sector as demand for residential and commercial space has been high. So despite the noticeable decline, Omni remains optimistic about the sector’s future and its own enduring contribution to development,” he stated.