Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan on June 8 signed off a US$14.6M contract with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for a hydropower project, and in doing so, tied Guyana to that agreement on the very day that the national recount of votes concluded at the Arthur Chung Conference.
This agreement adds to a long line of actions taken by the Government since the passing of the No Confidence Motion, which was executed in defiance of the Government’s Caretaker status, as stipulated by Guyana’s apex Court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). President David Granger had made a commitment not to enter into any major agreements, out of respect for the ruling of the Court.
Likely, the largest financial agreement of its kind since the landmark ruling was handed down by the Caribbean Court, restricting the administration’s power; the Government’s flouting of the Court’s judgment is compounded by the fact that the Finance Minister signed the agreement on the day the final tabulation was concluded at the recount, illustrating that the governing party, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) lost the elections by 15,416 votes.
The total cost of the project is US$16.59M, to which Guyana must contribute US$1.95M, according to the contract. Though contracts of this nature are expected to face parliamentary scrutiny, the National Assembly has not met in over a year and is currently dissolved.
The contract secures the funds for the cost of the construction and rehabilitation of three hydropower plants: Moco Moco (700kW) and Kumu (1.5 MW) at Lethem, and Ikuribisi (1MW) at Bartica; as well as for payments for goods, works, consulting and related services procured under the project to bring it to fruition.
According to the agreement, the IsDB agreed to finance the project on December 15, 2019 through installment sale financing, for execution by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA). The Bank’s website lists the project as ‘Active’ as of December 14, 2019, the day before it agreed to finance the project, as stated in the contract.
“The specific objective of the project,” the Bank states, “is to ensure universal access to electricity for the population living in Lethem and Bartica areas (currently around 80 % have access) with an affordable tariff around USD 20 cents per kWh, which is currently ranging between USD 33 cents and USD 40 cents per kWh in Lethem area and between USD 19 cents and USD 28 per kWh in Bartica area.”
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