Jul 23, 2013 News
“Amaila Falls is a project that goes beyond our mere mortal existence at this time. But this is a project that will benefit generations of Guyanese to come… I am begging again and I am not ashamed to beg when it comes to the future of my country, and I want to appeal to the Opposition elements to come around to the national position with respect to this tremendously important project for our country’s development for future generation.”
These sentiments were expressed by Minister of Public Works. Robeson Benn ‘during a press conference at Freedom House, Peoples Progressive Party (PPP’s) headquarters on Robb Street, yesterday.
He was responding to the no vote by the opposition to two Bills on the Amaila Falls in the National Assembly.
Also at the conference were Public Relations Officer Romel Roopnarine, PPP Executive Secretary Zulficar Mustapha and Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali.
Minister Benn said that the Parliamentary Opposition has not been giving the Guyanese a plausible explanation for its actions, and as such this is not only disrespectful but an abuse of parliamentary power; Benn noted that “we cannot sabotage the future of Guyanese and the future of our country.”
He said that although there were confidential discussions with the Opposition, and documents shared not only for the hydro project but others, “we could not have fathomed such an important project being voted down.”
Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali said that commercial consumers, when the project becomes operational, would save $91.3 million monthly or $1.1 billion annually if policymakers unanimously support the Amaila Falls Hydro Project.
According to Ali, the joint intention of the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) is to stymie national development. Their no vote is an unjustified attack on important transformational projects.
“Indeed when their queries are dismantled and explained by the Government they shift their goal post in relation to their support for these projects. The PPP always held the view that issues of national development and those that seek to improve the lives and living conditions of our people, especially the poor, must be dealt with in an unbiased and nationalistic manner.”
Ali added, “These issues must not be subject to political conditions that seek to use them as a tool to achieve political outcomes. It is unthinkable that a project like the Amaila Falls Hydro Project in which almost all Guyanese and policy makers, historically and present, have unanimously deemed to be beneficial to our people would receive the non-support of the AFC and APNU.”
Questioning how can the AFC and APNU explain their joint position in denying people of the following benefits as a result of their rejection of the Amaila Fall Hydro Project, Ali said based on an estimated 20 per cent of consumers will have a reduction in electricity tariff from the commencement; Residential Consumers would have saved approximately $208.7 million monthly or $2.5 billion annually; “A family paying a bill of $8,000 per month would see a minimum reduction of $1,600 per month in their bill.”
Adding that Industrial Consumers would have saved $84.1 million monthly or $1 billion annually, he said it is estimated that with the Amaila Falls Hydro Project electricity tariffs could be reduced by as much as 40 per cent (Double the Savings Above)
Minister Ali stressed that there will also be a reduced fuel import bill by approximately 20 per cent resulting in the country saving more than US$90 million annually on imported fuel; Reduction of current cost of generating electricity by 20-40 per cent; Generation of electricity using 100 per cent renewable sources – this has the potential of earning approximately US$10 million annually from the sale of carbon credit.
This, he noted, will provide energy Security which is important for national development, in addition to enhancement of Guyana’s Competitiveness through substantially reduced cost of production and improved reliability of electricity supply.
Underscoring that APNU’s leader, David Granger proclaimed that the Bill can always be brought back before parliament, Ali said that Granger can do so this Thursday and straighten out all the issues.
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