Possible Shake-up at Gravel & Concrete!!!

All is apparently not well at the state-owned Gravel Concrete & Emulsion Production Corporation.

According to well-placed sources, the management of the corporation is under fire from the political directorate for spending thousands of dollars without proper authorisation to purchase a new Concrete Mixing truck for the company.

A source who asked not to be named told this newspaper that it is possible that there could be a shake-up among management personnel soon as the company falls under the portfolio of Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen.

The manager of Gravel & Concrete Wilfred Hercules could not be reached by THE NEW TODAY for comment about his current status with the corporation.
This newspaper understands that Hercules hurriedly left the island last week for holiday in the United States.

A memo was posted on the compound allegedly signed by Hercules himself announcing that he will be on holiday until August 12.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a party representing Gravel & Concrete that included a mechanic from another state-run body, National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) reportedly traveled to the United States some months ago to finalise the purchase of the controversial Concrete truck.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government announced months ago that it was looking for a strategic partner for the loss-making Grave & Concrete corporation.

Government is known to be under pressure from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to divest itself from a number of statutory bodies.

Sources told this newspaper that Gravel & Concrete had to pay around EC$104, 000.00 to Customs in duties in order to remove the Concrete truck from the St. George’s Port to its location at Mon Rush overlooking the National Sporting stadium at Queen’s Park.

A study done by a group known as CARTAC, which is associated with the World Bank, concluded that sate-owned bodies like Grave & Concrete should be subjected “to the full range of taxes, duties and customs” by the State and not get any subsidies.

CARTAC identified Gravel & Concrete as one of two state corporations that have “a long history of very poor financial performance” and that it should be targeted for privatisation.

The recommendation made to the Mitchell-led government is that Gravel & Concrete be sold or wound up with its assets sold off.

The CARTAC report said: “Gravel & Concrete is under significant financial stress, and its ability to compete with private operators is questionable. Its current survival depends on inefficient monopolies.

“There is limited rationale for continuing government ownership, and government should consider selling the business. Options will be needed that prevent a private monopoly in aggregates being created.

This could be achieved by splitting assets, or granting concessions to develop new quarry sites”.

Government is yet to make any definite announcement on the future status of Gravel & Concrete.

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