Apr 14, 2021 News
…as Govt. says no plan to subsidise electricity for manufacturing
Industrial sites or zones in Guyana fall under the Ministry with responsibility for Industry and Commerce, but the Wales Estate Industrial site will not be overseen by this Ministry.
This was confirmed by subject Minister, Oneidge Walrond, during an interview with moderators, Dr. Asquith Rose and Charles Sugrim, on Monday during a Globespan24X7 broadcast.She told the moderators that government is looking to set up two new industrial zones this year and are looking to establish at least two or three in each region and named Wales Estate as a proposed industrial zone.
“For this year, we are going to be adding two more and we project to have one at Wales.”
She immediately pointed out however, “all of them not going to be under my portfolio, they are going to be others to be developed in other areas.”
The Minister was at the time unable to provide a precise breakdown of the proposed industrial zones to be established. The Wales Estate has been proposed as the landing site for the Natural gas from the Liza Field operated by ExxonMobil.
Expanding on the oversight of the zones, she underscored “I am not the only one that is going to have industrial estates.”
She however, did not identify under whose Ministry the Wales Estate site’s oversight would fall.
The Minister during the interview also pointed out that the cost of energy in Guyana continues to pose a hindrance to manufacturing in the country, but the government does not intend to subsidise electricity.
Referencing the gas-to-shore project, Walrond noted that government is taking steps to realise one of its campaign promises, “energy prices will go down.”
According to Minister Walrond, “we recognise that it is a hindrance and a barrier to manufacturing in Guyana; it’s way too expensive.”
She divulged, “I know that my colleagues, Minister at Public Works and the Prime Minister (Mark Phillips), and all those who are responsible for energy generation have been working assiduously—including the VP (Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo)—to see the fruition of our gas-to-shore project.”
This, she said, is with a view to reducing the cost of electricity, “a promise that we made in the manifesto and you can be sure that we will deliver on it.”
She was adamant that while there is no plan to subsidise electricity in Guyana, “certainly there is investment and an active work plan to bring energy alternatives into Guyana, so it can serve our manufacturing sector.”
The gas-to-shore project has in recent months been engulfed in heated public debate over its pros and cons, with the latest adding his voice to the fray, US-based Guyanese, Professor Terrence Blackman, who this past week questioned the rationale behind the location. The academic, in a recent interview with Kaieteur Radio, lamented that there is little information in the public domain concerning the likely development costs for the land at Wales, the location of a former sugar estate.
He pointed to the accessibility of the location for its intended use, namely the construction of power generation plant for the use of the associated gas coming from the Liza Field. Professor Blackman stated that his first option is to support the venture for sentimental reasons, underscoring that there are entire communities that depended on the sugar estate prior to its shuttering, adding that his support is rooted in repurposing the estate “and so bringing the Natural gas to this site seems like a good idea.”
This publication in January had reported that even though Vice President, Dr. Jagdeo, had disclosed to members of the media that the government has decided to land the gas-to-shore project at Wales, the administration was still to release the relevant environmental studies that support that choice. It should be noted that previous studies, commissioned by the former APNU+AFC administration, did not list Wales as one of the most cost-effective options for the landing of the project, which would bring gas from the Liza Phase One Project for 20 years.
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