Road closures during sitting of National Assembly negatively affected business – Clifford Reis
Chairman of Banks DIH Limited, Clifford Reis has disclosed that the road closures during the sitting of the National Assembly have negatively impacted the operations of its Stabroek Branch of the Demico House franchise.
Reis made this disclosure on Saturday during the company’s 63rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Thirst Park, which was held under the theme “The Winning Team; Celebrating People, Inspiring Greatness”.
At the time, he was responding to questions from shareholders before adopting the financial statements of Banks DIH Limited for the year ending September 30, 2018, and the reports of the Directors and Auditors.
One shareholder, in a written question, asked the extent of the effects the road closures during sittings of the National Assembly has on the operation of Demico. In response, the Chairman posited that this issue continues to be a challenge for the company. He noted that several attempts to address the matter have yielded no success.
“As a result of the closure of the roads around Parliament square, the movement of vehicles is restricted, which negatively impacts the transaction of business especially at our Retail Liquor Store and Dry Cleaners,” he stated.
According to the Chairman, the company suffered losses especially in December, which is considered to be the most profitable season for businesses, during the Budget Debates and Consideration of Estimates.
“Business activity, especially during the first two weeks of December, was restricted, resulting in a loss revenues and earnings for that department of Demico House,” Reis told shareholders on Saturday.
Back in June 2017, Government began closing off main roads in the vicinity of Parliament Building to facilitate parliamentary sessions, resulting in major traffic jams across the city as well as inconvenience to not only commuters but businesses as well.
Furthermore, these road closures were and continue to be a security concern as it paves the way for petty robberies and other crimes in the evening hours since persons would have to use other streets which are isolated or unlit.
Meanwhile, at the AGM on Saturday, another shareholder, who is also an employee of Banks, raised the issue of the company’s long-touted plans of building another housing scheme.
Banks DIH Limited had developed some 50 acres of land at Houston, Greater Georgetown, to provide housing for employees and their families. D’Aguiar’s Park, Houston, is the fourth such Housing Scheme established by the company, which has since been trying to develop a fifth.
According to the Chairman on Saturday, this plan is still very much in the cards. He explained that they had even attempted, on several occasions, to purchase a few acres of land from the competent authorities to establish another employees’ housing scheme to no avail.
“I’m certain that while this request has not been able to move forward, it’s certainly not for the want of efforts from our part. We will continue this request to the Government agencies… We hope in 2019, to have some success to be able to satisfy this request for our employees,” Reis asserted.
On the other hand, the shareholders also probed the Chairman on plans outlined in his 2018 report including the new car parking facility at the Demerara Park Area, Thirst Park.
Reis said this facility is expected to bring much-needed relief to car parking problems which currently exists at Thirst Park. He noted that with more employees driving to work, the need for additional parking has multiplied.
“A proposed multi-storage parking facility will see parking spaces for additional 400 vehicles. Also included in that new construction is space for future development resulting from the planned diversification of the company’s current business model,” he told shareholders.
Moreover, the Chairman, also touched on its ongoing solar energy programme which has seen operations at the OMG on Sheriff Street and Main Street Quick Serve benefitting.
“These departments are now partially powered by solar-generated electrical energy. This has resulted in considerable savings in our electrical power charges. We intend, in the current financial year, to accelerate this programme at our New Amsterdam and Essequibo branches and also to commence the installation of solar panels at selected production plants at Thirst Park. We will continue with this programme until all the departments across this company are fully powered by alternative energy sources,” he posited.
In its 2018 financial report, the local beverage giant recorded a whopping $4.085 billion profit after tax, compared to $3.584 billion in the previous year. This represents an increase of $501 million or 14 per cent.