Jan 12, 2017 News
During a recently held bilateral meeting with the Export Import (Exim) Bank of India, Finance Minister Winston Jordan disclosed that delays are being experienced under all projects funded by the bank.
According to a report on the meeting, the Minister opened up by stating that aside from some officials who visited Guyana earlier last year to sign a US$50M line of credit for the East Coast/East Bank Road Linkage Project, the Government has not had face-to-face contact with the Exim Bank.
The economist further mentioned that the Exim Bank has funded major infrastructural works in the past, and outlined the projects that Exim Bank is currently financing in Guyana. The Minister spoke about Guyana moving from a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) to an upper middle income country. He indicated that the newly graduated status has had negative implications on Guyana’s access to financing.
Jordan pointed out however that Guyana’s projects under the Bank needed to move as “delays are being experienced under all Exim Bank-funded projects.”
The Minister highlighted that the Government of Guyana is being asked to identify Indian Contractors to carry out works. However, the Government is not able to identify contractors without knowing the quality of their works.
This, he opined, has intensified the delays. The Minister sought the assistance of Exim Bank in accelerating rate of implementation of Indian-funded projects, as well as the Bank’s partnership in exploring ways to enhance cooperation between the Bank and Government of Guyana.
The representative of the Bank at the meeting opened by highlighting the unfortunate experiences that the Government of Guyana has had with Surendra Engineering Company Limited, an Indian Company that has disappointed the Government on the Specialty Hospital Project and the Pumps Project.
The official also congratulated the Government on its decision to cancel problematic loans. The representative further indicated that the road project is an issue that is pending with the Government of India. The Bank official asserted that the company selected as Project Manager for the road, contacted the Government of India to say that they do not have the expertise to manage the road project.
The Finance Minister subsequently stated that the Government of India should select the consultant and make a recommendation to the Government of Guyana. The Bank responded by stating that the Exim Bank has done a bit of work on the prequalification process of consultants for services. Jordan was subsequently requested to check Exim Bank’s website.
The Exim Bank also highlighted that they are in the process of prequalifying contractors; this should be on their website in a few months.
In the meantime, Jordan stressed the anxiety of the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, in moving the Exim Bank of India’s road project in Guyana, and underlined the importance of the East Bank/East Coast road linkage, and the purchase of ferries to the people of Guyana.
Further, Minister Jordan posited that for the assistance of the Government of India to mean well, it needs to be compressed within the stipulated timeframe.
In relation to the US$10m line of credit for the purchase of ferry vessels, the Minister queried the 15% Management Fee, and highlighted this as the main reason for the Government of Guyana not signing the line of credit agreement.
The Exim Bank stated that this is a new fee imposed by the Government of India. It was also mentioned that the terms have been relaxed. Therefore, Guyana is set to benefit. The Minister stated that the Bank should proceed with the contract for signing and thanked the team for a useful meeting.
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