The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is short of $13.1B; monies owed to it by the former administration. Eyebrows were raised in the National Assembly when the Junior Public Works Minister, Deodat Indar made the revelation during his presentation in National Assembly earlier this week.
“Upon looking at the books of GPL, I’ve found that there is $13.1B that the government of the past five years, owes GPL. It seems that there was a national policy unwritten somewhere, that you should not pay your light bill,” he told the House during a session of the budget debates at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
But former Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson sought to “contextualise” the state of affairs at the power company by making a revelation of his own. Moments ago, Patterson told the House that while it is fact that GPL is owed over $13B, it is the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) that owes the power company the bulk of the money.
“Sir, that is correct. What he (Indar) failed to inform this house is what section of the government owes 85% of that money: GWI,” he told the House.
Patterson categorised GWI as an entity similar to that of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), which is not viable and always on the brink of going belly-up.
“It is very, very lossmaking. At the current rate, coupled with the leakage in the system, this company is indebted to GPL on an average of $1B a year,” the former minister noted.
He further stated that the GWI audited report compiled in 2015 – before the David Granger-led administration took the reins of government – shows that the GWI owed GPL $10B.
“So, this issue predates us coming into power,” Patterson stressed.
The Alliance for Change (AFC) Executive Member told the National Assembly that “water is life”, and that is the sole reason why GWI was never disconnected from the grid. He said that Guyanese would have suffered tremendously if that was allowed to happen.
“Now that the Honourable Minister has discovered that the government owes GPL, he is free to pass the instruction to cut the power to GWI anytime he wishes…I will be keenly examining the estimates next week to see – since he now knows that the government owes GPL – how much money they will put in to pay GPL to offset the debt,” Patterson said.