Massive increase in infrastructure sector allocation

GINA, Guyana, Monday, November 28, 2016

From the $250B National budget presented today by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, $37.2B was allocated for infrastructure.

dsc_0092The budget was presented to the National Assembly under the theme ‘Building a diversified, green economy; delivering the good life to all Guyanese’.

Minister Jordan explained that an infrastructure network that can support rapid economic development requires huge capital investments. “This is especially true of Guyana with its sparsely populated town and village centres scattered over its 214,970 square kilometres.   Recognising   this,   we   have   allocated   $37.2B   to   narrow   the infrastructure  deficit  in  the  country,  even  as  we  pursue  other  financing  options, including Public-Private Partnerships (P3s), for the large scale transformative projects,” Minister Jordan explained.

The allocation is an increase from 7.6 percent in 2015, to a proposed 14.9 percent in 2017.

Minister Jordan noted that the 2017 Budget is intended to kick-start the government’s development agenda by investing heavily in critical infrastructure, power, transportation, and logistics, among other areas.

The Finance Minister indicated that the government has been waiting for over five decades to bridge the coastal and hinterland divide, and create national and hemispheric inter-connectivity with the Linden to Lethem corridor.

“A recent Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) market demand study has reinforced that this corridor is essential for creating a link between our road and sea transportation networks. We intend to exploit the competitive advantage of our strategic geo-physical and geo-political location on the South American mainland along the Atlantic Coast,” Minister Jordan explained.

According to Minister Jordan, for 2017, several infrastructural projects onboard include:

  • Commencement of the first phase of the Linden to Lethem Road project which spans Linden to Mabura Hill
  • Commencing of work on a permanent fixed bridge across the Essequibo River at Kurupukari
  • Seeking funding to construct a road from Parika to Goshen, followed by the construction of a bridge from Monkey Jump to Bartica, complementing the bridge crossing the Essequibo River at Kurupukari
  • Resurfacing and rehabilitation, where necessary of the Linden-Soesdyke highway and
  • Pursuing negotiations  for  the  dredging  of  the  Demerara  River,  in  order  to reduce the need for high frequency, low capacity, offloading of vessels among others

 Roads and bridges

The sum of $14.1B was allocated for the continued development and maintenance of roads and bridges, of which $2.3B has been earmarked for capital projects in the hinterland. Targeted interventions include the Port Kaituma Road, from the airstrip to Fitsburg Housing Scheme, in Region One, Issano Road and Karrau to Buckhall Roads, in Region Seven, Karasabai to Monkey Mountain, in Region Eight, and Aishalton Junction to Shea, in Region Nine.

“While this is on-going, approximately $262.5M will be expended, in 2017, to prevent the further deterioration of the existing road network in the hinterland,” Minister Jordan pointed out.

Pedestrian overpass

Further Minister Jordan highlighted that pedestrian overpasses will be constructed at Liliendaal, Houston, Eccles, and Peter’s Hall. The first ever vehicle overpass will be built at the Diamond main access road. These, the Minister explained, are to reduce the number of fatal road accidents. “In addition, we have completed the National Road Safety Education Guidance Document and Best Practice Guide, which will be adopted by the Ministry of Education for incorporation into the school curricula, in 2017,” Minister Jordan said.

River Transportation

According to the Finance Minister, efforts will continue to improve river transportation. For 2017, the sum of $294M has been budgeted for the rehabilitation of stellings at Bartica, Supenaam, Mazaruni, Morawhanna, New Amsterdam and Rosignol, while $240M has been allocated to recondition the Malali, Sandaka, and Lady Northcote vessels.

Approximately $295M will be used to purchase a barge and dock several vessels. The continued maintenance and upgrading of the stellings and vessels will facilitate a normalised and safer flow of private and commercial traffic across our waterways.

Sea, river defence

Sea and river defences remain as critical to Guyana’s safety and future, given the effects that climate change is having across the country. A total of $2.5B was allocated towards the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of sea defence infrastructure in Regions Three, Four, Five and Six.

Airstrips/aerodromes

“We will continue to transform the air transport sector into a more mature network, with increased capacities to facilitate the demands of our country,” Minister Jordan said.

The sum of $385M has been set aside to complete rehabilitation of nine airstrips across the hinterland and to commence rehabilitation of three more. This represents an interim intervention by the Government, pending negotiations with the Caribbean Development Bank for a larger project, of about US$15M, to upgrade aerodromes and airstrips.

Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA)

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project progressed in 2016. Over $9.5B was spent on activities, including the extension of the runway from 7,500 feet to 10,800 feet, and the commencement of works on the terminal buildings. Minister Jordan said that for 2017, the sum of $9B been allocated to this project, involving the completion of the terminal buildings and the relocation of squatters.

“By 2018, the CJIA would facilitate three additional parking positions for more aircraft, and be able to handle Code E apron trans-Atlantic aircraft, which will allow more direct connections to and from Europe and Africa.”

 

 

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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