GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 08, 2016
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said that Government, in an effort to transform Guyana with more expanded and integrated infrastructure for the creation of linkages, has increased budgetary allocations for every region.
The Minister made this statement today, during day four of the budget debates in the National Assembly.
The Public Infrastructure Minister noted that the $34.556B allocated for the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is 13.82 percent of the $250B, 2017 National Budget which will see the realisation of several new projects and completion of others.
Miscellaneous, Urban Roads
Minister Patterson reported that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure through the Works Services Group (WSG) has been constructing/rehabilitating roads in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten under the Miscellaneous and Urban Roads Programme.
A budgeted amount of $1.425B and $1.164B, have been allocated under the Miscellaneous and Urban Roads Programme, respectively, for 2016. By November 30, 2016, expenditure for miscellaneous roads stood at $1.049B while for urban roads the figure was $917M.
In 2017, budgetary allocations for miscellaneous and urban roads/drainage are $1.115B and $1.053B, respectively with an increase for Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.
Additionally, four kilometres (km) out of 20km of roads to the tune of $176M were completed in Leguan in 2016 and a similar approach where the Mobile Asphalt Plant will be dispatched will be taken to another location in 2017.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure noted that two roll-over bridges, at a cost of $37.8M, were completed. Works have commenced and are ongoing on the Liliendaal Acrow Panel, No. 66 Truss, Corentyne and No. 51 Village, Corentyne bridges with a total sum of $169.8M. An additional 10 bridges for $80.8M have been awarded and are at different stages of completion. Total expenditure at December 6, 2016 was $125.418M, Minister Patterson told the House.
In 2017, $220.050M has been allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of bridges.
“Government is committed to the linking of the hinterland to the coastal area, and has given full support to its realisation since our succession to office – this is in keeping with the promise in our 2015 Manifesto. An improved road network is vital for the extractive industry, as well as our eco-tourism industry,” Minister Patterson explained.
In 2017, the sum of $2.302B has been allocated for the continuation of road rehabilitation and construction.
Contracts are out for rehabilitation works along the Bartica-Potaro corridor, including an assessment of the link between the Denham bridge and the Cassandra crossing. A new Cassandra crossing bridge will be constructed in 2017. Additionally, the connection between Mahdia and Linden will be strengthened with a new road under the United Kinngdom, DFID programme, Minister Patterson said.
In 2017, there will be the creation and/or restoration of modern Waterfront Recreational Areas between Kingston and Ogle (including a Direct Overhead Link from Recreational Area at Seawall to National Park), and Stabroek Market and Vreed-en-Hoop, along with improved accessibility between Waterfront Development at Seawall and Stabroek Area. The acquisition of a dredge is also a part of this project, the Minister explained.
East Coast Road Expansion Project
Budget 2017 has a provision of $1.4 Billion to complete the entire stretch of road from Better Hope to Belfield by the China Railway First Group Limited. The Minister pointed out that after several delays, the Framework Agreement with the People’s Republic of China for US$45.5M concessional loan for the completion of the widening and improvement of the East Coast of Demerara Highway was signed at the Ministry of Finance on November 23, 2016.
CDB 3rd Sea Defence Project
The Sea and River Defence Resilience Project which commenced in the last quarter of 2015 will see the continuation of works in Regions Two, Three, Four, and Six in 2017 with a budgetary allocation of $980M. Works should be completed by December 2018.
Cheddi Jagan International Airport
The Minister told the House that the airport expansion project is moving apace. Minister Patterson pointed out that excavation works and foundation treatment are 100 percent completed. Sand backfill is at 68.7 percent at both ends and is expected to be completed by June 2017. The total runway works are at 50.54 percent and should be completed by November 2017.
With regards to the new Arrival Terminal Building, foundation works have commenced. The expected completion date is May 31, 2017, while renovation works for the existing terminal building will commence in stages from the check-in side in the first quarter of 2017, and will last until end of project, the Minister related.
Additionally, two residents within the North East footprint have already relocated. Contracts have been awarded for the relocation of three other residents within the North East side.
Guyana Power and Light
According to Minister Patterson, the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated considers itself to be a major stakeholder in achieving the vision of the Government’s green economy.
The power company commenced preparatory steps to position itself to introduce renewable energy from intermittent sources including wind and solar and non-intermittent (biomass and hydro). Two preparatory steps that have been completed are the establishment of a Grid Code for utility scaled generation above 1.5 megawatts and a Renewable Energy Expert, contracted through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Technical Assistance Programme.
The power company has invested approximately US$3M for 3 x 1.7 megawatt for Anna Regina with High Frequency Output (HFO) containerised generators which are expected to be commissioned in May 2017. These new generators will replace the two aged Wartsila units.
At Bartica, the power company has invested approximately US$1.3M to procure, commission, and conduct preliminary works for 3 x 0.6 megawatt Low Frequency Output (LFO (diesel) fired containerised generators which are expected to be commissioned in April 2017.
These generators will replace the aged generators and will be integrated into a new Hybrid Power facility.
Additionally, a new location to house the GPL operations has been identified; works are to commence shortly the Minister pointed out.
Additionally, in 2017 expansion of substations at Vreed-en-Hoop, Edinburgh ,West Coast Demerara (WCD), Kingston, Sophia, Garden of Eden, and No 53 East Bank, Berbice (EBB) are scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2017 for 24 months for US$31M.
Further, lights were installed for the very first time in Yarrowkabra and other areas scheduled to benefit from lights in 2017 include Friendship Squatting Area; Rosignol Cultivation Area; Mainstay Housing Scheme; No. 30 Village; and Goodland Canal 1 among others.
For 2017 16,000 meters will be targeted.
Guyana Energy Agency
In 2017, the sum of $1B was allocated for renewable energy and, of this figure, $527M is allocated to the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA). “The timely implementation of the capital projects for 2017 will require cogent communication, coordination, planning, implementation and monitoring with the relevant stakeholders.
GEA had already commenced the process of preparing tender documents for the close to one billion dollars in Renewable Energy and energy efficiency projects for 2017,” Minister Patterson explained.
GEA will finalise the 2017 procurement plan and monitor it to ensure timely delivery of the Capital Projects, the Minister declared.
Meanwhile, GEA and the Hinterland Electrification Company Incorporated are advancing the installation of a 20KW hydropower plant at Hosororo, Region 1, to supply electricity to the Mabaruma Power and Light Incorporated.
Minister Patterson said the 2017 budget is definitely one that will provide the “good life for all Guyanese”.
Meanwhile, Opposition Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill argued that the government is guilty of negligence and malpractice of resources. Construction is declining and measures that have been outlined in the budget will not remedy any of the declines, Edghill said.
The Opposition MP noted that the government is making money off of the people rather than for the people, so the fancy talk of infrastructural developments and more jobs is a waste of time.
Edghill quoted the Infrastructure Minister who said that “we’re expanding roads and bridges,” but no works have yet started on the East Bank and East Coast, even the Guyana Brazil Water Port development, Linden to Mabura road, Water front development and board walk.”
The Opposition MP contended that the budget should be re -looked to better benefit Guyanese.
By: Ranetta LaFleur