Sep 04, 2014 News Comments Off on Controversial Bai Shan Lin-built parking lot ready for use – GRA
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday announced that a portion of the railway embankment line earmarked for a parking lot, at the corner of Lamaha and Camp Streets, has been completed and will be put in use shortly.
The area for 400 parking lots was developed by Chinese logging company, Bai Shan Lin, as part of its “civic” duty but there has been questions as that investor has been under scrutiny for its arrangements with Government and the scores of vehicles and equipment it brought down to Guyana under duty free concessions.
GRA has refused to disclose details of the concessions and how it granted permission for several high-end vehicles like a Lexus and an Infiniti Q series. The company has not yet been granted permission to start logging in its two concessions in Upper Berbice, Region 10, and in Region Nine but has entered joint venture arrangements with a number of local operators and associations.
GRA’s involvement with Bai Shan Lin, especially at a time when the company is under the spotlight, has been heavily criticised because of the obvious role played by the company in granting and overseeing the concessions.
Yesterday, GRA’s Commissioner-General, Khurshid Sattaur, said the organisation will shortly occupy the railway embankment for parking by its staffers and members of the public who would be willing to walk over two blocks to conduct business at the tax agency.
Sattaur brushed aside criticisms of Bai Shan Lin’s involvement, saying that as its civic duty, the company “willingly engaged in the works to have in excess of 400 parking lots made available to the GRA staffers and the public.”
Since moving its headquarters and several of its scattered departments to the former CLICO building on Camp Street, the area has been known for its traffic congestion.
To further ease the traffic obstruction in the vicinity of the agency, Sattaur said that the organisation also plans to make available the location adjacent to the St. Margaret’s Primary School, which is currently being used for parking by staff, for a fee to persons conducting business with the GRA.
“I am very optimistic that this new development will resolve the very unsatisfactory state of affairs encountered everyday and which is becoming even more aggravating as new businesses sprout up every day around the location.”
GRA also said, that while it is keen on providing parking for staff and customers, the organisation is encouraging taxpayers to take advantage of the internet and other payment options that have been provided through partnership with Demerara Bank Limited, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, Republic Bank (telebanker), Bill Express and Mobile Money Guyana to pay taxes and purchase motor vehicle licence, as this would further ease congestion at the GRA and hence in the Camp Street area.
“To date a number of taxpayers have been using the payment options provided and the numbers are increasing weekly, however, it is hoped that the rate of increase will be even more rapid,” GRA said in its statement yesterday.
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