Pact inked for Berbice Bridge commuter subsidy

Come January 1, 2016, passenger cars and minibuses crossing the Berbice Bridge will pay a toll of $1,900, while all other types of vehicles will have their tolls reduced by 10 per cent.

This is according to an agreement signed yesterday between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) and the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI).

According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, the agreement was signed by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson, Chairman of BBCI Egbert Carter and BBCI Chief Executive Officer Omadat Samaroo.

Chairman of BBCI Egbert Carter and Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson at the signing ceremony
Chairman of BBCI Egbert Carter and Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson at the signing ceremony

The release said that signing covered the provision of a $31 million subsidy to the bridge company, which is to be disbursed before the end of 2015 and the reduction of tolls, which does not extend to vessels.

According to the agreement, the subsidy will not be referred to as a toll reduction but a commuter subsidy to the Berbice Bridge Company Inc, and will not affect the rights or manner in which revenue collected.

Going forward, the total amount of the subsidy shall be agreed by both sides, based on the projected traffic figures for the next following quarter and paid quarterly in advance.

“The advance payment for each subsequent quarter shall include an adjustment for the immediately preceding quarter (s) determined by an audit thereof. The cost of the audit to verify actual traffic figures shall be borne by the Government of Guyana,” the agreement said.

“If the audit is not completed within a month from the close of the quarterly period for any reason, the traffic figures provided by the company shall be the basis for the advance payment until the audit is done, after which the figures shall be adjusted for the ensuing month,” it added.

The release said that Patterson and Ferguson both expressed pleasure that the agreement was signed and said it was just an indication of government’s commitment to providing a better life for the Guyanese public.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Minister Patterson’s Advisor Kenneth Jordan and MPI’s Permanent Secretary Balraj Balram.

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