NAMA ‘needs help of developers’

NAMA cannot work without the co-operation of the country’s developers, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), which has also warned that thousands of jobs will be shed as major projects finish.

CIF president Andy O’Gorman said it would be “eminently suitable” for those involved with the proposed National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) to sit down and talk to developers. He said NAMA was “no way a bail out for developers”, adding that developers are not the only ones to blame for the economic mess.

He said banks had obligations too.

“Developers wouldn’t have continued to develop if they didn’t have customers,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman said that most major projects in development are coming to an end shortly, which will mean that up to 12,000 jobs a month will be lost in the construction sector over the coming year.

He said that there are no similar projects to replace those that are being completed.

He said work has “completely dried up”.

He predicts that up to 100,000 more jobs could be shed in the industry over the next 12 months from a peek of 400,000 in 2007.

Mr O’Gorman, who is also managing director of Cork-based IIF Process Mechanical & Electrical Contractors, was speaking ahead of the CIF annual conference, which takes place in Cork today.

Speakers at the conference include Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and Davy Stockbroker economist Rossa White.

The CIF president said NAMA must be capable of operating fairly, efficiently and effectively so that the current difficulties in banking and development can be addressed and employment and tax revenues from the property sector can be restored.

He said it is unacceptable that many bank loans are not being transferred to NAMA for up to six to nine months.

“This lapse of time will bring about much uncertainty and lack of clarity in relation to funding requirements for these businesses.

“It is imperative that appropriate and adequate arrangements are put in place with immediate effect,” he said.

He also said NAMA’s description as a “bad bank” is “totally erroneous”.

“The agency will take over all property based loans, including all fully performing loans,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman said the decisions made over the coming months are likely “to shape our industry and the country’s future for the next 15 years”.


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