Sep 24, 2020 News
With the adverse effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the local economy, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has received a $609 million bailout in the 2020 National Budget. This allocation is aimed at ensuring that the regulatory agency keeps its international certification in order.
Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, revealed this yesterday to the National Assembly as the 2020 Budget Estimates were being considered.
Minister Edghill was at the time responding to questions posed by Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Gail Teixeira, on why the sum was allotted for the GCAA.
According to Edghill, the regulatory agency “traditionally” garners its own revenue to fund operations there. However, he noted, “…of recent times, it has really fallen on hard times and this has been more compounded by the fact of COVID and because of the reduction of revenue, because of where they garner their revenue from flights, overpass flights and the rest of it and we had a reduction.”
Moreover, the Public Works Minister underscored that “in order to keep Guyana’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) certification in order, at all times, four months cover must be in our reserves.”
“Because of the depletion, etc., this budget is being asked to provide that money for those four months of cover,” he explained.
Against this backdrop, Minister Edghill explained to the National Assembly that considerations were made to allot $440 million for the ICAO cover reserve and the remaining $169 million will be put towards bridging an operating deficit.
While he declined to provide further in-depth details on why such a large sum was needed for the company, he hinted at undisclosed cost over runs and made it clear that COVID-19 was only “one factor involved”.
Edghill was grilled by former APNU+AFC Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, to reveal those costs to the House but was cut short by Speaker of the House, Manzoor Nadir, who did not allow the discussion to continue since it was not part of the estimates being considered.
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