$34.4Billion for Public Works Ministry’s projects for 2020

─ Energy Expansion and Diversification
─CJIA expansion project
─ECD railway embankment to be resurfaced
─Linden-Lethem road project remodeled
─Ogle to Diamond bypass road redesigned
─new DHB on agenda

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill in presenting the 2020 emergency budget to the National Assembly today, announced that the Government intends to invest $34.4Billion in his Ministry for 2020.

According to Minister Edghill, because the projects left behind by his Government in 2015 were not fully implemented, the Government is now forced to direct its energies towards seeing them come to fruition.

“The sad tale is that due to their ineptitude we are now saddled with the responsibility to ensure that these projects are completed with utmost speed and diligence,” Minister Edghill contended.

Energy Expansion and Diversification

Guyana is promised 400 megawatts newly installed capacity using a mix of hydropower, solar and wind for residential and commercial-industrial users. This will complement a $400.6Million investment for the expansion of electrification in Amerindian and hinterland communities.

Critical projects like the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project along with mini-hydro grids in Bartica and Lethem will be pursued as the Government seeks to end the incessant blackouts caused by a previously neglected energy sector.

Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA)

The Public Works Minister highlighted the CJIA project as one that was immensely reduced in size and quality under the previous administration. It was noted that CJIA should have been able to facilitate A380 airbuses, 8 boarding bridges and new terminals for departure and arrival, among other key features.

However, the Government has had to re-engage the contractor for there to be compliance with their contractual obligations that have been unfulfilled after 5 years and countless delays.

Minister Edghill held, “we have had the occasion to read the riot act to the contractors to complete the substantially reduced-scoped project, and to make provision in this year’s budget to finance several critical interventions necessary to make the airport functional.”

Roads and bridges

Plans are afoot to complete the East Coast of Demerara Highway that is said to have been hastily completed. Minister Edghill contended the project was commissioned by the previous administration on February 27 in an effort to merely score political points.

“We in the PPP/C will complete this project and have already actively moved to utilise unspent balances to replace all the acro-panel bridges between Sheriff Street and the Hope Canal,” Minister Edghill confirmed.

After enhancing those bridges, the Minister stated that the government intends to resurface the railway embankment from Sheriff Street to Enmore, ECD, leading to a robust 6 lanes for travel along the coast.

Concerning the Linden to Lethem road, the Minister added that Government has made the decision to remodel the project “to a manageable level, whereby the highway can be completed from Linden to Mabura Hill within the resource availability of US$150 Million.”

Related to the Ogle to Diamond bypass, the Minister reemphasised that the project was redesigned to be completed within the confines of a US$50M loan, rather than a burden of US$208Million that the former administration wanted to place on the taxpayers.

Further, the new Demerara Harbour Bridge is back on the agenda after much controversy under the APNU+AFC over the manner in which the feasibility study and Expression of Interest (EOI) were approached.

To this end, Minister Edghill established, “Work is currently being done to put us on a path to facilitate the launching of an expression of interest (EOI) for the design, construction and financing options for a four-lane high-span bridge.”

Minister Edghill ended his presentation on a high note for the Public Works Ministry concerning the acquisition of a new ferry for the Northwest District, a promise that has been on the cards but not fulfilled for 5 years.

“Since assuming office, we have secured an amicable settlement of the award dispute and have approached the Indian Government to mediate a mutually agreeable settlement so that this project can proceed.”

The emergency Budget for 2020 is $330 Billion.

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