Transparency Institute wants expert committee to review Amaila

Transparency Institute Guyana Inc, is calling for there to be a special committee comprising independent experts to address the concerns that notable stakeholders have raised regarding the Amaila Falls hydro project.

In a press statement yesterday, TIGI said that the committee would then report back to the National Assembly. TIGI said it believes that with the Amaila Falls hydropower project, the ultimate objective should be the highest standards of transparency, accountability, cost efficiency and cost effectiveness, thus ensuring that the best value for money is achieved.

At its regular monthly meeting last Friday, directors of the institute discussed the stalemate in the legislature as well as reactions of the various stakeholders with regard to the Amaila project.

“TIGI feels obligated to make its own contribution to the debate in the hope that policy makers will reflect on the contributions of everyone before deciding finally on the future of the project,” TIGI said in a press statement yesterday.

“TIGI wishes to state unequivocally that it is entirely in favour of clean and environmentally friendly energy to replace the long term energy generated from fossil fuels. This is what the Amaila Falls project aims to achieve. How-ever, in our quest to achieve this worthwhile objective, we have to be extremely cautious, and financially and otherwise prudent to ensure that the project is economically, technically and otherwise feasible and that all of the associated risks are properly addressed,” TIGI said.

It said that a major factor relates to the apparent high cost of the project, which several persons attribute mainly to the mix of financing. “TIGI is of the view that Govern-ment should reconsider the financing arrangements for the project since debt financing as opposed to equity adds to a significant increase in the cost of the project,” the statement said.

It said TIGI noted the concern raised by Carl Greenidge, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that there is no conclusive evidence that electricity tariffs will be reduced when the project comes on-stream and no disclosure on how the Power Purchase Agreement works in order to arrive at the price to the consumer.

“Professor Clive Thomas, an eminent economist of national and regional standing, echoed similar concerns and asserted that the Amaila project in its present form is totally unacceptable. Other notable contributors to the debate are Christopher Ram, Ramon Gaskin, Janette Bulkan and Anand Goolsarran, all of whom are knowledgeable and respected civil society personalities,” it said.

TIGI urged all of the parties involved to reflect carefully on the concerns raised by the various stakeholders, not to be swayed by political considerations or other sentiments and to let reason prevail. “It is better to err on the side of caution than to rush into making decisions that we may very well end up regretting,” TIGI said.

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