A lengthy delay in a loan agreement has resulted in increased consultancy fees for East Coast Demerara road-widening project.
This is according to Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Geoffrey Vaughn.
In an interview with the Department of Public Information/ Government Information Agency, Vaughn explained that when the contract was signed in 2013/2014 by the previous administration, it was not clearly laid out and there were various issues in having the loan inked.
“As such consultancy fee for the United States-based Sheladia Associates Consultancy firm was increased from US$1.9M to US$2.3M, a US$312,399 increase.”
This increase was recently announced by Minister of State Joseph Harmon at a post Cabinet briefing. He highlighted that Cabinet green-lighted several contracts including one for consultancy services for the East Coast Demerara four-lane extension from Better Hope to Belfield Village.
The United States-based consultancy firm will work along with TYPS Consulting Engineering and Architect located in Spain and with E and A Consultations Incorporated in Guyana.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the consultancy firm will soon peruse the contract document to determine if there should be adjustments before works commence.
“We’ve already issued the letters to Shaledia informing them of the changes and they will be reviewing the document of the design shortly, so that they can give us any comment that they would have before any actual work starts. However, there is a scheduled deadline for this project, which is almost a year plus, so we’re hoping by next year we will wind it down.”
To date, preliminary works including the widening of the road and removal of utilities have been completed by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
The contractor China Railway First Group Limited is mobilising currently and should be stockpiling materials shortly, it was disclosed.
Last November, the government and the People’s Republic of China inked a US$45.5M concessional loan for the completion of the widening and improvement of the road between Better Hope and Belfield on the East Coast of Demerara. Guyana has contributed $2.7B towards the project. When completed the project is expected to result in reduced travel time, traffic congestion, vehicular maintenance and accidents among other benefits.
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