The government has budgeted the sum of $1.4 Billion to be spent on the East Coast Demerara Highway Improvement Project for 2017.
This was stated in the 2017 Estimates of the Public Sector – Central Government
Development Programme, Capital Project Profiles.
This project was initiated by the former Administration – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic back in January 2011.
During the early stages of the project, works were being carried out in several areas along the East Coast of Demerara including: Better Hope; Montrose; Felicity; Success and La Bonne Intention (LBI).
However, activities began to slow down resulting in a plethora of questions with regards to the then Government’s intention and its will to complete the project and to bring relief to commuters who utilise the link.
The project was being viewed as a ‘sleeping white elephant’.
The project entails the widening of a section of the main road between Better Hope and Belfield. Some of the immediate benefits to be accrued from this intervention include, reduced travel time, traffic congestion, vehicular maintenance and accidents.
The project is also expected to enhance local and inter-regional trade since a significant part of Guyana’s economic activities rely on this thoroughfare.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, and outgoing Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Limin back in November, signed a Framework Agreement for a concessional loan from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China to go toward the project.
Minister Jordan had noted that under the agreement, the Chinese Government will provide a loan of US$45.5M.
The allocated amount of $1.4B for works next year, will entail $1.350B coming from the Chinese Government and $50M from local funding.
Thus far, approximately $2.89B has been spent on the project with $128M coming from the Kuwaiti Government and $2.76B from local funding.
A further breakdown of Government expenditure throughout the project shows that prior to last year, $2.65B was spent followed by $95M in 2015 and $12M this year.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, had stated previously in the National Assembly that the Chinese Company – China Railway First Group Ltd. will complete the entire stretch of road from Better Hope to Belfield.
Meanwhile, Budget 2017 has provision of $2.335B for completion of these works on the West Demerara Road Expansion Project; from Vreed-en- Hoop, West Coast Demerara to Hydronie, East Bank Essequibo – approximately 30.7 Kilometres.
At the end of November, this project was 58% finished; its completion date is December 2018.
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