The National Association of Regional Chambers of Commerce (ARCC) has registered its dismay at the “irrational and anti- investment action” of members of the combined parliamentary Opposition by their rejection of the Hydro- Electric Power (Amendment) Bill.
“These lawmakers have, by their deafening inaction: undermined solid efforts by Government to catalyze the rotation of our wheels of industry; stultified structured attempts to leapfrog business growth; and retarded Guyana’s competitiveness together with the nation’s modernization trajectory,” the ARCC said in a statement Monday.
ARCC called for an urgent revision and reversal of this stance through open-minded dialogue and a speedy return to the established parliamentary process to unanimously pass the measures contained in the amendment, “in the interest of non-partisan politics, unfettered patriotism and a bright future for all Guyanese.”
Already the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the Private Sector Commission and the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana have chided the opposition’s actions.
On July 18, 2013, the opposition which holds a one-seat majority in the country’s 65-seat legislature, voted down a Bill to amend the hydro law and a motion to increase the debt ceiling for the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project.
On Monday, head of the technical team for the project, Winston Brassington said that the opposition’s decision can scare off other investors in major projects here.
He explained that there are now key risks associated with the project, which do not put Government on a good footing in negotiating with potential partners on future development project.
He observed that investors, who are spending millions of dollars on a project in a country, will have no confidence doing so in the absence of firm guarantees that they will receive the full support of the country in seeing that project through to the end.
“When you are taking that sort of risk, no one is going to do that on the good faith alone of the government going forward,” he stated.
“In order to take a project through the development stages, particularly larger infrastructure projects, you have to spent tens of millions of dollars on the studies and all of the preparations…and you are doing that at your risk, so if you realise that you can come all the way up to the eleventh hour and then have the rug pulled from under you, they are going to be saying, what guarantees can you give us before we start spending monies here?”
Brassington said this is going to send the worst signal on any major partnership project where sponsors have to spend a lot of time and money in the preparatory stage because of the absence of firm guarantees that when you get to the finish line that a country will do what it expected to do.