…but supplied figures paint a different picture
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson told media operatives, today during a presser, that her Government’s motive for increasing the toll on the Demerara bridge is to make the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DBHC) self reliant, so that they would not have to subsidies the company.
The junior Minister noted that “from 2008 through 2016, DHBC made an average income of $489M each year from 2008 to 2016. For the same period, the DBHC expended an average of $910M each year across both its current and capital expenditures.”
Without government’s annual subventions, she explained that, the DHBC would be operating at a drastic shortfall and would be unable to sustain its capital projects as whatever money is made by the company goes to its current expenditures.
According to Ferguson this is where the toll increases come in, “the projected revenue for 2017 – with the new toll structure in place and based on the same amount of traffic – would lead to an income of $861M” she noted.
Meanwhile, “based on current traffic trends, it is projected that the DHBC will make $550M at the end of 2016 with the current toll structure in place while its expenditure – both current and capital – will stand at a projected $600M” said Ferguson.
The difference between the yearly projected expenditures and projected income with the new toll is around $260M.
However, if the average yearly current and capital expenditures mentioned earlier i.e. $910M is taken into consideration then the projected income with the new tolls of $861M would not suffice to make the company fully self reliant, as the company would still have a deficit of $49M.
If its a position where the average yearly current and capital expenditures amount to $910M as outlined above, then Government would either have to further subsidize the DBHC – negating its argument – or the tolls would have to be increased further in the future to compensate for this deficit based on the figures supplied by Ferguson.
Nevertheless, according to the Junior Public Infrastructure Minister, this “significant increase in income is important for two reasons: not only would DHBC have more funds to dedicate towards its operations, but the need for Government subvention would be negated. In other words, the Corporation would be totally self-reliant.”
According to the Junior Minister “things are just not the same. More persons are now able to afford vehicles and businesses, now more than ever, are using the Bridge to transport their goods and services. Our world is developing and with development comes increased traffic each year, which makes it even more expensive to maintain the operations of the Harbour Bridge. It is therefore necessary that the toll structure reflects the development we see in our society.”
Ferguson also affirmed what was mentioned in a previous report that there will be no increase in the toll for minibuses, as the “pressure” would be transferred to the populace if public transportation is increased.
The Opposition Peoples Progressive Party had described the bridge increases as “most cruel, crass and insensitive” adding that “this measure will add to the nearly 200 odd measures, which have been imposed upon the backs of the Guyanese people in the year 2016.”
Below is a list of the new tolls proposed for the bridge:
|CLASSIFICATION||PRESENT TOLL||PROPOSED TOLL|
|Motor car (private)||$100||$200|
|Motor car (hire)||$100||$200|
|4WD jeeps/SUV/Pick-up (private)||$200||$200|
|Goods vehicle up to 2,200lbs (1,000kg)||$100||$400|
|Goods vehicle 2,201-4,400lbs (1,001kg-2,000kg)||$200||$400|
|Goods vehicle 4,401-6,600lbs (2,001kg-3,000kg)||$300||$400|
|Motor lorry (2-axles)||$500||$700|
|Motor lorry (3-axles)/Large bus||$600||$700|