The Quarry Products Association of Northern Ireland have welcomed the Finance Minister’s commitment to speed up the delivery of major and economically significant infrastructure projects; the Minister made the commitment in comments during oral questions in the Assembly recently.
Gordon Best, Regional Director of QPANI, said: “For far too long we have heard talk from the Assembly and Executive of quicker delivery of major infrastructure projects, we now need urgent action! The Minister’s commitment is to be welcomed but must be supported by his Executive colleagues and Assembly parties.
“The number of delayed or cancelled infrastructure projects such as the A5, Desertcreat, schools projects, energy from waste and renewable energy projects are an embarrassment and shows that our procurement of construction projects is not fit for purpose. There are too many blockages in the system.
“While our industry is witnessing an improvement in confidence and orders we are still very cautious and urge all the political parties to get behind the Procurement Board and the Finance Minister’s proposals. We are simply asking that NI follows the examples of Scotland and the Irish Republic where centralised infrastructure delivery units, populated by procurement and construction experts, deliver projects much quicker and at lower cost.”
Mr Best added: “As everyone knows, the whole of the construction industry has been through the worst downturn in leaving memory during which we experienced mass migration of skilled workmen and the brightest of our construction qualified young people. All this at a time when there were a number of projects in the system but were either delayed or cancelled and that could have provided and sustained much needed jobs within the construction sector. Alarmingly though, as I visit and talk to our members around Northern Ireland their faith and confidence in the Assembly and the Executives ability to deliver is at its lowest I can remember.
“I would urge our Politicians to grasp this opportunity to change how we deliver major economically significant projects and at the same time rebuild that faith and confidence that our industry has lost.”