The House yesterday deferred consideration of a Bill and Motion addressing components of the Amaila Falls Hydro project on the insistence of the Opposition who wanted more time to mull over their provisions.
Prime Minister Sam Hinds at the sitting announced that the Government wished to defer the second reading of the Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill 2013 and the motion ‘Limit on Amount Outstanding under Guarantees Given under the Guarantee of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act.
Clause 3 of the Hydro-Electric Bill confers on the President the power to create the Hydro Electric Offset Reserve area.
It also increases the penalty to $1 million for the breach of regulations made under the Act. It is in response to Inter-American Development Bank environmental standards for hydroelectricity power generation facilities.
The motion seeks to increase the limit on total guarantees that can be issued under the Guarantees of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act from $1 billion to $150 billion or approximately US$730 million. It is intended to guarantee that Guyana Power and Light is able to purchase the power that the Amaila Falls hydroelectric facility will generate.
The guarantee limit was last raised in 1980 from $500 million to $1 billion. “Based on the US Dollar rate in 1980, the guarantee at the time was equivalent to US$400 million. Adjusted for US inflation from 1980 to 2013, the equivalent figure in US dollars today would be approximately US$1.1 billion,” said the Ministry of Finance in a statement earlier this month.
The statement said that it was optimistic that based on the consultations with the Opposition, the Motion will receive unanimous support in the House.
However, a source from within the Opposition said that the Opposition wanted more time to examine the Bill and motion and was prepared to vote them down had their request for a deferral not been entertained.