The Ministry of Infrastructure continues to be a major recipient of government funds, this time, receiving an allocation of $38.5B as part of the 2019 National Budget.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan this afternoon revealed that the $38.5B was constructed with “infrastructure for integration” in mind and will be split between upgrading the capital stock (71.9 percent) and maintenance and repairs (28.1 percent).
According to Jordan, part of the vision of the administration for Guyana is the establishment of well-functioning infrastructure that can support trade flows and transportation as well as protect the nation’s economic assets and human capital from natural catastrophes.
“We are driven by the need to realize economic benefits for our people, create unity through inter-connectiveness, job creation, and market integration and competitiveness. The cost of doing business and trade will stymie our competitiveness if our productive areas cannot readily access resources,” Minister Jordan said.
As a result, he said, $38.5B has been allocated to expand infrastructure, and this sizeable allocation will result in improved movement of peoples and goods, both nationally and internationally, enhanced resilience of coastal and riverine communities; and improved efficiency in services delivered to the citizenry.
The allocations as part of the infrastructure budget are as follows:
- Linden-Lethem Road – currently in its pre-construction phase, Jordan said the roadway is a priority area for Government. He said that Government of Guyana is in discussion with the Government of Brazil for the development of the Mabura-Lethem. The feasibility study, he said, will begin in 2019. He said too that 6km of roads will be paved between Wisroc and Mile Zero and the feasibility study of the next 125km from Linden to Mabura and the bridge across the Kupakari River will also commence.
- $134M to execute designs and studies for the rehabilitation of the 72km Linden-Soesdyke Highway
- East Bank-East Coast linkage will also be a priority area in 2019. This bypass was estimated at US$50M and is now projected to cost US$120M. Government will approach bilateral partners to make this road a possibility. Jordan said that, when completed, the bypass will open up approximately 15,000 hectares for housing development and alleviate traffic congestion immensely
- New Demerara River Crossing – Government has restructured the model to be a four-lane, non-retractable, high level bridge. Government has also sought technical support from the Caribbean Development Bank to finalize the revised expression of interests, which will be released before year-end. The sum of $100M has been allocated to finance the services of technical experts
- Government will embark on a feasibility and design study for the Parika Stelling to a modern marine transport hub, thereby revitalizing the journey to Bartica. Furthermore, Government has engaged international financiers and development partners for the construction of an all-weather transportation road corridor from Parika to Bartica, to be done in three phases: Parika to Goshen, Goshen to Monkey Jump, and Monkey Jump to Bartica. Additionally, the Government foresees the addition of a link from Goshen to Free ‘n’ Easy to solidify the integration between the East Bank of Essequibo to the West of Demerara and Port Georgetown
- East Coast Road Expansion – Work will continue on the development and construction of the Better Hope–Annandale four-lane highway and the Buxton–Belfield upgrade, with expansion then planned from Belfield–Hope Canal Bridge. Jordan also revealed that the Islamic Development Bank is considering Government’s proposal to upgrade and widen from Hope Canal Bridge to Mahaica
- Reconstruction works will commence from Railway Embankment Road from Enmore to Hope Canal Bridge
- Government has allocated $2.9B towards constructing, maintaining, and improving roads in towns, villages, and communities, including Lima, Suddie, Wakenaam, Agricola, Industry, Sophia, South Ruimveldt, Cummings Lodge, Vigilance, Sheet Anchor, Mabaruma, Amelia’s Ward, etc.
- For 2019, continued investment will be made in hinterland communities, with $2B being made available for works on Paruni Road, Bartica-Potaro Road, Cassandra Crossing, Kwakwani-Orealla, etc. This allocation is 33% higher than in 2018
- Port Georgetown – modernization of Port Georgetown will be a priority and Government will seek to work jointly with the private sector to realize this vision
- Sea defence – over 3.9B has been allocated for continued rehabilitation of sea defence
- Government has allocated $8.9B to improve energy sector, with focus towards a more diversified energy mix and alternative energy sources and the view of being fully renewable within a decade
- Focus will be made to improve the generation and transmission capacity of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. Government will also seek to advance construction works to the Kingston and Vreed-en-Hope substations, continue the advancement of the GPL smart metering campaign, and improve the management and government structure. Central government support will total $3.6B in 2019 for GPL
- Electrification of government buildings will continue in 2019 and in communities. Government will also pilot the first ever completely electric vehicle in the public service
- Government will continue to pilot its green town initiative in Bartica
- Hosororo Hydropower Project and the Mabaruma PV farm will be commissioned in early 2019
- The Hinterland Electrification Company Inc. was allocate $101M to continue its work and extend to other communities such as Orealla, Kwakwani, and other areas.