…budget predicts project’s total cost at $8.8B
While Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon has said that the real cost of the programme involving the Government fibre optic cable is too early to be determined the projections in the Budgetary allocations pegs it at some $8.8B.
In the expenditures it is pointed out that some $7.6B is expected to be sourced from China and India.
Some $353.5M has already been expended on the project and by the end of 2010 the figure will be some $1.2B.
The project description lists installation of a communication fibre optic networking system from Georgetown to Lethem; construction of a central data centre in Georgetown and construction of wireless and terrestrial network from Moleson Creek to Anna Regina.
The benefits of the project are listed as “improved communication and technology.
Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, has since been questioning the rationale behind such a project which he said was in the context of the fact that the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company has already undertaken such an initiative.
Corbin said that the fact the Government is still forging ahead with the project indicates an intention to be able to compete with the private sector as well as manipulate the sector.
He said that at no time has there been a report presented on the cost/benefits of expenditure especially in light of the fact that taxpayers will be saddled with the burden of repaying the additional future debt.
The Opposition leader said that there has been no feasibility study undertaken and presented to justify the investment.
He said that it would have been all well and good to make the investment had there been no plans to expand and develop the sector, again drawing reference to the GT&T cable.
Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Aubrey Norton, had lambasted in his presentation to the 2010 budget debates, the government, for the planned investment of in excess of $800M for a fibre optic cable from Brazil.
He said that it is a waste of money and unnecessary expenditure that could have served Guyanese elsewhere.
Norton said that his assertions were based on his research, in that the investment by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) is more than what is needed in Guyana.
Norton told the House that GT&T has expended US$30M to land fibre optic cable on the seawall thus ensuring there is the capacity to provide all the service needed in Guyana.
He said that this investment will see some 64 gigawaves which will bring the capacity to 3000 times more than current capacity.
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