By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan has made it clear that the APNU+AFC government has no intention to continue works on the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.
In his 2015 budget presentation in the National Assembly on August 10, Jordan said that it is not only irresponsible, but “a downright criminal act of deception were we to proceed with Amaila Falls.”
He told the House that investigations conducted by the new government revealed that the Guyana Power and Light Company would be required to make annual payments amounting to US$130M to the operators of the facility.
This he said will total US$2.6B over the 20 year period, according to the power purchase agreement and does not include Guyana’s contribution of at least US$160M comprising $45M for road, $80M through equity and $US45M that will have to be taken from the Inter -American Development Bank (IDB).
“It will be delusional to suggest that GPL has the competence to handle such a financial burden. The GPL is known to have a poor operational, financial and technical capability. The Company suffers from a high energy and technical losses…it would require not only tariff increases but guarantees that taxpayers, through the treasury will have to provide to meet its obligations,” Jordan told the National Assembly.
He reiterated that the cost of financing Amaila Falls is too high and government is supported in its decision by the IDB, who had considered the project to be too risky to attract the bank’s financing.
The Finance Minister noted that over the next five years, the APNU+AFC government will examine all sources of energy and will commence feasibility studies for a large hydro power development in the Mazaruni region in collaboration with Brazil.
The government also intends to promote the construction of small hydro systems across the country.