I refer to Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh’s comment that the Inter-American Bank (IDB) has ceased the due diligence work on the Amaila Falls project. I have a suggestion for the Minister, the government, the opposition, and the people of Guyana. Ask the Government of Norway to use some of the money allocated to fund three important studies.
First, use some of the money to complete the Amaila due diligence study. This will provide invaluable information that we do not now have and it would close the current knowledge gap on Amaila.
Second, use some of the Norway funds to complete a study on the full repair cost of bringing GPL up to an efficient and cost effective operational level; and complete an analysis on the financing a new energy supply company to replace GPL, taking into account the electricity demand requirements for the next 5 to 10 years. The reason for this analysis is to ensure that GPL can deliver a clean, reliable and cost effective supply of electricity to consumers. The patchwork approach to GPL has not worked and much time and other resources have been spent without the expected benefits being delivered. For example, electricity losses are still high (as much as 30 per cent of production) and this has been a problem that has not been solved, culminating in GPL being a loss-making entity and a burden on taxpayers.
Third, use some of the money to do a feasibility study of the energy supply potential of the contiguous falls, including Tumatumari/ Potaro River basin and explore the linkage of purchasing electricity from Brazil. Perhaps they should consider different electricity supply plants of the following sizes: 250 megawatts, 500 megawatts, 1,500 megawatts of power. This could be linked to potential industry demand from at least the mining, forestry, manufacturing tourism and agriculture sectors.
Finally, we need to get everyone on the same page examining the same information and facts, for spending US$858.0 million without knowing the basics is not a cost effective way to spend scarce resources. Complete the studies listed above, have a formal presentation, engage a rigorous debate process, and at the end make choices that will spur real development.
C Kenrick Hunte