Private sector implores APNU to meet gov’t on Amaila project

-Greenidge sees little usefulness

The Private Sector Commis-sion (PSC) is calling on the main opposition, APNU to take up President Donald Ramotar’s offer to recommence talks on the Amaila Falls Hydro Project in good faith and in the national interest.

This it said in a media release sent out yesterday. It noted that on Saturday last President Ramotar invited Opposition Leader David Granger to have an APNU team sit down face to face with the Government team which has negotiated the project and once and for all settle these issues and to publicly communicate the meeting’s outcome.

It was the latest in a series of efforts to salvage the project but they seem to be going nowhere as APNU has maintained the position that many questions are unanswered and more documents have to be provided. APNU’s opposition to two Amaila measures in parliament led to Sithe Global walking away from the US$858M project.

Carl Greenidge
Carl Greenidge

“The Private Sector believes the President’s offer to be fair and reasonable and a genuine effort on the part of the President to seek consensus on the hydro project,” said the PSC in the statement.

“It is the PSC’s clear understanding that APNU is still of the opinion that the Amaila Falls project will lead to unsustainable debt and will not result in a reduction in electricity tariffs. We believe that the only fair and reasonable way  to address these concerns is for APNU to engage the President’s offer. We wish, therefore, to encourage Mr. Granger to accept the offer,” said the PSC statement.

“It has been the consistent position of APNU that the Government has failed to provide the Opposition with all of the information needed to arrive at an informed decision while at the same time criticising the project. What better way, therefore, to resolve APNU’s concerns than meeting with the Government’s negotiating team, with nothing withheld and everything on the table,” the statement said.

“We believe that much harm has been done to the project by the peddling in the media of uninformed opinions by self-styled pundits who have based their analyses on outdated or incomplete information. We felt that this project is too vital for the future of our nation to allow such spurious analyses to determine its fate,” said the PSC.

However, in a comment to Stabroek News last night, APNU’s chief spokesman on economic issues Carl Greenidge said that while the party is not opposed to meeting, it sees little benefit of doing so if the purpose of the meeting is to say how important the project is to Guyana or how nice a person the President is.

Referring to a letter that he penned in the Sunday Stabroek of August 18, 2013, Greenidge said that APNU would not be prepared to move forward on the issue unless the conditions set out in that letter were met by the Government.

These include the publishing of all the MOUs and agreements signed and licences awarded to individuals and entities in relation to hydroelectric and river basin development; that the role of NICIL is restricted to the activities for which it was originally established and ensure that it is equipped with competent staff and managers; that the financial package for Amaila arrangements must include measures to raise capital from the domestic private sector and the Guyana diaspora, for example, investment bonds.

Greenidge’s letter said too that Government must include in the package a specific undertaking to reduce the tariff to domestic consumers and to industry in keeping with the planned fall in the cost of power generation. He also called for the cancellation of  the licence for Amaila and the re-awarding of it via a process which should be publicised.

Sithe Global has informed this newspaper that as a result of their announced pull out from the project, they are no longer funding third party costs associated with the due diligence studies by the China Development Bank (CDB) and Inter-American Develop-ment Bank (IDB) and as such these two institutions are no longer processing any loans for this project. Altogether these two institutions would have been providing over US$600 million in loan financing for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric project.

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