Apr 02, 2013 News Comments Off on CJIA US$150M expansion…AFC to question Govt on final costs during budget debates
The expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) is likely to take centre stage during the debates on this year’s National Budget set to begin today.
According to Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, his party is concerned about the final cost of the project which has at present, a hefty US$150M price tag. It will be Guyana’s second most expensive project after the US$200M Skeldon sugar modernization project in Berbice.
In late 2011, a US$138M contract was signed with the Chinese contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). Among other things, Government agreed to guarantee 10 hours per day work for CHEC. Government will also have to provide all the filling materials, including sand, for the extension of the main runway and for the building of the new terminal building.
According to Ramjattan, it is unclear to his party how these costs will impact the final price.
“We will also be asking government what is the interest being charged on this loan from China so that we can be clear what this will cost the Guyanese taxpayers…It is, after all, they who will be paying back these monies.
“I would not be surprised that this could end up costing us US$200M. We will also want to know under what conditions Government agreed to pay $1.4M daily for any delay in the construction of works.”
Government is taking a US$130M loan from China for the project and has signaled intentions to plug at least $20M more from the public purse.
Government, in the National Budget, is asking for $5.3B this year for the expansion project and it will be hoping that AFC, which has seven seats, and A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), 26 seats, would give their blessings.
Construction works are expected to start as early as May with preliminary works currently being carried out.
The airport’s project was announced in 2011 by Jamaican media. Government later said that the contract signing was leaked before the administration had a chance to talk about it.
Recently, President Donald Ramotar turned the sod at CJIA, signaling Government’s commitment to go ahead with the project.
In justifying the project, both the President and Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn, said that Guyana was moving to capitalize on potential markets in Asia and Africa, using its strategic geographical location at the tip of the South American continent.
In addition, Guyana’s tourism is expanding and the limited capacity of the current airport and terminal at CJIA was preventing additional airlines with their bigger, wide bodied planes from coming here, they said.
According to copies of the signed contract with CHEC released to MPs and the media, US$138M that the contractor is charging does not include the construction of a new car park, internal roads and handling equipment area. Rather, CHEC is only charged with preparing designs but government will have to take responsibility for the construction.
CHEC’s US$138M price tag also does not include the construction of a new cargo area and fuel farm. Government is responsible for designing and constructing both.
However, CHEC will be responsible for land backfilling to extend the runway area, constructing a new terminal building, pavement of new apron, layout structures and systems, oil tank, water supply and drainage for runway extension area and fire pump station and power supply line for runway extension area.
The new airport terminal will entail the installation of power supply, communication and water supply and fire control system, and air conditioning system for the terminal.
The contract also said that the US$138M does not include the removal of the existing terminal, cargo store and containers. Rather, the employer (government) will have to do it. Government has since announced that it will no longer tear down the current terminal building but has plans to convert it for cargo storage and other services.
The contract price excluded taxes, duties, royalties and other fees normally imposed. The government will have to take charge of this.
Already, according to Government in its budget figures that have been released, more than $4B has been spent before this year – more than likely representing an advance of 15 per cent of the total contract price or US$20.7M.
The combined opposition has a one-seat majority following the 2011 General and Regional Elections.
Last year, the opposition used that one seat advantage to reduce the budget by $20B. However, following a court case, Government used its interpretation of ruling to restore the monies.
It will be wary again of similar measures by the Opposition which continues to raise questions of a number of billion-dollar projects sealed by former President Bharrat Jagdeo just before his term in office ended in late 2011.
May 25, 2020Police Progressive Youth Club (PPYC) middle distance athlete, Aaliyah Moore, has joined the long list of Guyanese student-athlete alumni at New York’s Munroe College after recently being accepted...
May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
May 24, 2020
May 24, 2020
In one of my columns (Saturday, May 16, 2020, “Someone has to advise APNU+AFC leadership not to talk”), I opined that... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Caribbean countries are, once again, being placed in a difficult position as they try to navigate... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]