Private sector again urges support for Amaila

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) last evening called again on the government and opposition to take all steps necessary to ensure the passage of legislation necessary for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Project.

“We cannot overemphasise the importance of this project to the future of our country.  Cheaper energy will have a transformational effect upon our manufacturing sector, and indeed all of the private sector,” the body said in a statement. “We are tired of the armchair experts who have come out of the woodwork to condemn the project on spurious economic grounds,” the PSC added.

The Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill 2013 and a motion ‘Limit on Amount Outstanding under Guarantees Given under the Guarantee of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act,’ both of which the government has said are important for the project are expected to return for consideration to the National Assembly today. The Opposition had previously voted against the matters, halting their approval.

Last evening, the PSC said that the project has benefitted from expertise that no local could match. “This project has benefitted from the expertise of the Blackstone Group, the largest financial advisory and alternative investment firm in the world.  We would challenge any of our so-called local experts to match their expertise.  We would also challenge the detractors of the project to give sound economic reasons for their recalcitrance.  It has become obvious that the objections to this project are purely political in nature and we condemn those who would sacrifice our nation’s future to gain political points,” the body said.

The PSC noted that the project has been on the agenda for the past fifteen years – “years marked by the frustration of the private sector which has been stymied by the lack of affordable energy.  Years also which have seen this nation lose its competitive advantage, both regionally and extra-regionally.”

The statement said that the PSC has lamented the fact that at this point in the country’s economic history; Guyana is still a nation of primary producers. “Hydroelectricity will allow us to evolve into producers of processed goods and will lay the foundation for the development of a significant industrial sector.  We have seen the impact that cheap energy has had on the industrial capability of oil-rich nations, even here in the Caribbean.  It is incumbent upon us to take advantage of our abundant natural resources and harness the power of our rivers for the development of the nation.  Sound economic sense dictates this.  The alternative is continued dependence on other countries for our energy supplies with all the attendant risks and currency outflows,” the statement said.

The Commission called upon all the parties involved to put the nation’s development first and to resolve this impasse in a spirit of negotiation and compromise.

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