IMF applauds govt’s transformative infrastructural projects
─ says investments will support sustainable growth
Assessing the economic impact of infrastructure investment, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its 2022 country report, has applauded Guyana’s profound infrastructural investments.
The IMF believes that the investments in infrastructure by the administration will strategically support the country’s sustainable economic growth efforts.
Some of the major investments by the government include the construction of the new Demerara River Crossing, the Corentyne River Bridge linking Guyana and Suriname, and the road infrastructure linking Guyana to Brazil.
The New Demerara River Crossing
The government through the Ministry of Public Works has already commenced the process for the construction of the new bridge, set to be completed within two years.
In early May of this year, a $52 billion (US$260 million) contract was awarded to China Railway Construction Corporation Limited for the new bridge.
Work has already started on this major transformational, investment initiative, which is in line with President Irfaan Ali-government’s development agenda – to expand Guyana’s transport infrastructure.
In line with this development agenda, the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, had stated that the contract signing coincides with several transformative initiatives being undertaken by the government countrywide.
“We are witnessing history today, and not history in the sense of a one-off isolated project, but history in the sense of a major transformative project that is part of a much larger, comprehensive plan for transforming Guyana…the making of modern Guyana is well underway and we, today’s generation, are privileged to be part of it”, Dr Singh explained.
This new crossing is a 2.65-kilometre bridge, which will feature a modern four-lane structure and a cycle lane, with an expected lifespan of some 100 years.
The new bridge will also provide better connectivity to the existing and the new East Bank Demerara roads, the Diamond-to-Ogle bypass road, as well as the new Schoonord to Parika road on the West Bank of Demerara.
Corentyne River Bridge linking Guyana and Suriname
On May 4, 2022, a US$2 million seven-month contract was inked by Guyana and Suriname for the feasibility study and design of the Corentyne River Bridge.
This contract, when completed, will see both countries together awarding the commencement of this massive infrastructure investment by early 2023.
Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill and his Surinamese counterpart Riad Nurmohamed signed the contract with WSP Caribbean Limited, one of the world’s leading architecture and civil engineering professional services.
Guyana and Suriname have jointly agreed to construct the bridge using the Public-Private Partnership method of procurement with a DBFOM (Design – Build – Finance – Operate – Maintain) model contract.
Once completed, the bridge will transform travel between Guyana and Suriname, forge stronger cultural bonds and knowledge sharing as well as improve economic activities for both countries.
Road infrastructure linking Guyana to Brazil
Again, on May 20, 2022, the government signed a $US190 million contract with a Brazilian company, Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A., to begin construction on the first phase of the road linking Guyana to Brazil.
Phase one of the road will see the construction of a 121 kilometres all-weather road that is 7.2 metres wide two-lane carriageway from Linden-Mabura Hill.
The Linden to Mabura Hill road will also include a shared cycle and pedestrian lane measuring 2 metres wide, along with 10 bus stops that cater for persons living with disabilities.
The government has also budgeted for the reconstruction of several bridges and culverts along the Kurupukari to Lethem corridor.
Dr Singh had said that the project was decades in the making, and expected that the transformational infrastructure investment would increase economic trade with Guyana’s southern neighbour.
“Our vision for Guyana is one where if you are a farmer producing produce in Linden, you must be able to load your produce up and drive it unimpeded to Lethem and beyond to sell it… if you are manufacturing, any item you must be able to sell as easily in Georgetown and Linden as you must be able to sell in Bonfim and Boa Vista,” Minister Singh stated.
Moreover, the IMF report further highlighted that “the construction of new highways, bridges, and roads will help boost the non-energy sector” as the government ramps up significant capital funds to modernise the country.
The IMF also believes that the construction sector will benefit from the authorities’ push to increase the housing stock across the country.
In all cases, the IMF outlines that “the procurement process will be open and competitive, including public and online viewing of the opening of bids and publication of awardees.”
This is a credit to the PPP/C Government for setting up the transparency framework in developing a One Guyana policy that is seeing infrastructure investment, boosting the non-energy sector as is reflected in the IMF 2022 report.
Furthermore, Guyana’s development is expected to be accelerated exponentially and with this in mind $96.1 billion has been budgeted for 2022 for the country’s infrastructure.
The money proposed will cater for the present and future needs of Guyanese,
$76.7 billion of the infrastructure budget will go towards the development of roads and bridges.
With the construction of the Corentyne River Bridge moving ahead, $8.3 billion has also been budgeted for the upgrading of the highway from Palmyra to Moleson Creek.
In addition, $2.3 billion has been budgeted for the East Bank-East Coast Demerara Road linkage between Ogle and Eccles, along with $2.1 billion to commence the widening and paving of the East Bank Highway from Grove to Timehri.
The rehabilitation of the entire Soesdyke-Linden Highway for $2.6 billion is currently being mobilised.