Oct 31, 2012 News Comments Off on CJIA deal US$150M for signing today
Guyana’s second most costly project to date – the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) – is to be signed today between government and a Chinese contractor.
The project is reportedly worth around US$160M.
Signing the contract with China Harbour and Engineering Corporation (CHEC) on behalf of Guyana is Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Government had initially said that the contract inked last year with CHEC is for US$138M and that the difference would be met from public funds. However, the costs according to government’s budget, has crept up. Guyana is likely to invest up to $20M, sending the project to the US$160M mark, the country’s second largest project after the US$200M Skeldon sugar project.
The expansion will see the leveling of the current terminal
building and the rebuilding of a new one; construction of aprons, taxi-ways and extension of the main runway; design and construction of a new car park, internal roads and handling equipment and the installation of eight passenger bridges and new security equipment.
Government has argued that significant increases in passenger movement and space constraints have been stagnating growth of that international airport. While no feasibility study was made available to the public, government has said that it will be tapping into the Asian and African markets for passengers.
But the project from the first announcement was under a dark shadow.
Guyana only learnt of it after the Jamaican press reported on it late last year, days before the November 28th General and Regional Elections.
Government, in its defence, said that CHEC’s regional office in Jamaica, prematurely released the information.
CHEC itself has been linked to a number of media reports involving corruption but the company has denied all charges. Government said that it found no reason to not give CHEC the project and cleared it.
The World Bank had banned the parent company of CHEC and a subsidiary from its future road projects for a number of years over corruption.
An incident in Bangladesh which saw the son of a former Prime Minister sentenced in his absence for taking bribes, was also defended by CHEC, which insisted that it had nothing to do with that.
CHEC is the same company that Jamaica’s Contractor-General, Greg Christie, earlier this year asked new Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, to consider terminating a US$600M contract that was granted without the benefit of a tendering process.
Earlier this month, Jamaica’s Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Omar Davies said that CHEC breached regulations over a multi-million road project. These included procurement breach and “wanton disregard for the conventions and procedures established by the government of Jamaica.”
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