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Ramotar to convince hydro investors to stay

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar

 

President Donald Ramotar has pledged to continue to explore all possible ways and means to see the materialisation of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project, so that Guyana can benefit from more affordable electricity.

 

The president made these comments during an address to the nation on Monday regarding the withdrawal of Sithe Global/Blackstone from the over US$800 million project. He assured citizens and stakeholders that he “will continue to work to get cheaper energy for Guyana”.

 

“I will continue to try to convince investors to stay on and invest in this project and in this country and I still hope that the opposition, particularly the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) could see the bigger picture and that they would put the interests of our people above narrow party lines and rise to the call to support this project.”

 

Involvement

 

During his address, the president reiterated the steps that were taken to get all stakeholders involved, including the parliamentary political parties whose input into proceeding with the project was vital, were kept informed about the specifics and benefits of constructing the hydro facility.

 

“A few months after assuming the presidency in 2011, I invited the two opposition parties in Parliament, the APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) to the Office of the President to give them a presentation on the Amaila Hydro Falls Project and its status to date,” the president pointed out.

 

He added that “I emphasised to the opposition leaders that their buy-in was critical to the success of this… I mentioned that I did not want to taint this project in wild charges of corruption.   Finally, I made it clear that we were ready to answer any question and provide as much information as we could to satisfy their concerns.”

 

Meanwhile, prior to its recent visit to Guyana to host consultative forums on the details of the project, Sithe Global in 2012, also met the leaders of the opposition to sensitise them on why it was an important undertaking for the people of Guyana, Ramotar highlighted.

 

Government had also invited the Inter-American Development Bank to host related discussions with opposition parties.

 

“During the debate on the estimates of the 2012 budget, our ministers, including the prime minister and the minister of finance answered exhaustively every question put to them by the opposition on this project.  This was repeated in the 2013 parliamentary budget debate,” he noted.

 

Additionally, President Ramotar said that in June this year, yet another presentation was made to the APNU, after the AFC declined to be a part of the discussion.

 

“They were also advised on the two parliamentary interventions that would have to be submitted and supported in order to conclude the financing of this project.  Copies of the Hydro-Electric Power Bill and the motion on the increasing of the debt ceiling in order to guarantee the investment were shared with the opposition delegation.”

 

As a result, the head of state said opposition parties cannot say that there was not transparency into the development of the hydro electric facility, as they were “privy to exactly the same information that the government had”.

 

The president noted that despite these efforts, the hydro project still remains in jeopardy to be realised in its entirety, following years of work and investments by both the developer of the project and government.

 

The project is now on shaky ground after Sithe Global withdrew its services, citing a lack of consensus from all political parties to pass the Hydro-Electric (Amendment) Bill.

 

The bill, which was put forward by government, was only supported by the AFC.

 

As such, following Sithe’s announcement, President Ramotar said he spoke with Opposition Leader David Granger and “urged him once again to join him in showing support for the Amaila Falls project, for our country’s future development and for the life opportunities of generations of Guyanese”.

 

Future cost

 

Outlining some of the specifics of the project, the president said, “The total cost to the taxpayer is US$100 million in equity, of which US$15 million has already been spent and (US$80 million) of the remainder is already deposited in the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) and is awaiting transfer.  The future cost to the taxpayer is limited to the outstanding amount needed for the access road.”

 

“The total savings to the taxpayer because of the removal of GPL’s subsidy will be at least US$30 million per year, or US$600 million over 20 years – far in excess of the US$100 million provided by the taxpayers in equity.”

 

He also thanked all supporters of the project and urged them to remain committed.

 

Source: http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/?p=27007



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