BBCI submits proposal to Gov’t for toll reduction

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Berbice Bridge
Berbice Bridge

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) has announced that they have submitted a proposal to the Government of Guyana as it relates to accepting the $40M subvention for the proposed reduction in tolls for crossing the Berbice River Bridge.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, October 28, during a commissioning ceremony by Dr Surendra Persaud, who is a representative on the BBCI’s Board of Directors from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

According to Persaud, BBCI has put forward several suggestions on “multiple aspects of the bridge and its subvention”. He did not disclose any further details as it relates to the proposal.

iNews understands that the proposal was made several days ago and the company is awaiting a reply from the Government. Persaud indicated that at this point, BBCI won’t be pressing for a reply from the government as they only made the submission a short while ago and it would not be fair to the government if they have to respond in that short period of time.

Meanwhile, Junior Minister of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson admitted that her government has indeed received the proposal and that it is being reviewed by Cabinet. She is optimistic that by the end of this week, an announcement would be made on the way forward.

Lowering the tolls for the bridge would see the fulfillment of an incremental campaign promise made by the 6-Party coalition government. Instead of lowering of the tolls, the government had to resort to the use of speed boats as a means of getting people across the river in a more cost effective manner, since BBCI had rejected the subvention, stating that it was not consulted on the process and would have to seek the advice of all of its shareholders before it could make a decision on the matter.

The company also argued that the subvention being provided by the government does not cater for a planned increase in the tolls. It was argued too that should the company move ahead with the reduction and accept the subvention, it runs the risk of having to file for bankruptcy.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan told the National Assembly that the toll for passenger cars and buses will be reduced from $2,200 to $1,900, a 13.6 percent decline.

At the same time, the toll for all other types of vehicles will be reduced by 10 percent. That was the announcement made by Jordan on August 10, 2015 during the budget presentation.

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