Construction sector’s recovery ‘dependent on financing through exports’

5th June 2023

Senior officials from Cuba’s construction sector have said that they are attempting to finance its return to viability through developing an income from exports.

Speaking on the nightly television programme Mesa Redonda, the Directors of the Ministry of Construction (MICONS) and the GEICON Business Group identified energy supply stability and financing the cost of production as the main problems facing the recovery of Cuba’s construction industry as it attempts to deliver the homes, buildings, and infrastructure required.

Reynolds Ramírez, the First Vice President of GEICON, Herácleo Porto, the Director General of Grupo Empresarial de Cemento (GECEM) and officials from the Ministry of Construction (MICONS) told viewers that little improvement was likely in the immediate future without new sources of financing and energy stability. 

Speaking about the 2023 production plan, Ramírez stressed that to increase the delivery of construction materials “financing is needed.” This he said is “within our reach …. through exports.” In 2022 he said, GEICON sold US$1.05mn worth of  marble and mortar, some grey cement, and charcoal to earn income to maintain production.

This year the plan is to export just under US$17mn to recover and develop the construction materials industry. It was, he said, the only way the sector could achieve production on a larger scale and acquire the necessary raw materials not produced in the country.

The First Vice President of GEICON explained that although outcomes for 2023 had improved, so far “the expected results have not yet been achieved, due to the energy situation,” and output was far below installed technical capacity. “It is insufficient to satisfy the country’s demand,” he observed.

Despite this, he said, the  group was  developing new processes and modernisation plans with Cuban universities, citing as examples improvement in the production of sanitaryware, and automated methods of processing marble for export.

During the broadcast Porto, the Director General of GECEM the Cement Group, told viewers that government decided that this year it would prioritise the recovery of the cement industry.

The company’s Nuevitas plant, he said, is being modernised to recover the clinker capacity, while its Santiago plant is expected to  double its capacity after being modernised enabling the two together to produce around 2mn tons of cement annually. Porto also noted that GECEM’s Cienfuegos plant is currently exporting to some Caribbean countries, enabling the income received to be reinvested into increasing production capacity.

Cuban state media recently reported that the modernisation of the 26 de Julio Cement Factory in Nuevitas seventy miles northeast of Camaguey, is intended to lift its productive capacity from 150,000 to 750,000 tons per annum.

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Photo: Roberto Garaycoa/ Mesa Redonda