….MP Ali expresses worry over funding implications
The Auditor General’s 2017 report has raised concerns with the Public Infrastructure Ministry over the slow implementation of a particular Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded project that could affect the overall work.
The project is the US$6.2 million Sustainable Energy programme; a project that saw the IDB contributing US$5 million and the Guyana Government contributing the rest.
The project was supposed to improve the institutional capacity of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Completion date for all transactions under the programme is stated as 66 months from the signing of the agreement to June 10, 2019. As at December 2017, approximately 48 months after the effective date of the programme, only amounts totalling US$558,229 or 8.93 per cent of the total programme cost was expended,” the Auditor General’s report states.
“The slow delivery of the programme’s activities could result in it not achieving its stated objectives. This project is subject to separate financial reporting and audit. The project was last audited for the financial year 2017 and the audit report was issued on 24 April, 2018,” it added.
Guyana’s slow implementation of projects has not gone unnoticed. In a statement, Opposition Member of Parliament and Economist, Irfaan Ali rapped the Government for this sloth and the implications it has for overall funding.
“The 2012-2016 Country Programme Evaluation report for Guyana is out, and the IDB wasted no time outlining the lethargic and sloth pace of project implementation by the current Administration. According to the report, between 2015 and 2016, disbursement fell dramatically and for the first time Guyana recorded a negative cash flow. To fathom the downsize in disbursement, from 2006 to 2013, average allocation to Guyana totalled US$51.3 million.”
“In 2016, however, that amount fell to a mere US$14 million. According to the report, the poor performance was directly linked to weak institutional capacities of executing agencies, especially in procurement and monitoring and evaluation. Ironically, in 2016, the period under review, the Government spent, on average, $3.5 million in employment cost on every $1 million of capital project implemented,” Ali said, adding that this is 66 per cent or $1.4 million more when compared to 2014.
Many have questioned the progress of the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP) that was initiated in 2014, costing US$64 million and intended to rehabilitate the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) systems, as power outages continue to occur.
In 2014, the IDB had approved loans totalling US$37.6 million along with non-reimbursable investment financing from the EU to help boost the efficiency and reliability of Guyana’s power system.
The IDB had said the project would be done through electricity loss reduction measures, improvements in the operational capabilities, and strengthening the management and corporate performance of GPL.
A further US$20 million loan agreement was signed with the Islamic Development Bank earlier this year. The money is also expected to go towards improving GPL.