Govt spending on infrastructure aiding economic growth – GCCI President
…describes boost as “shot in the arm” for Private Sector
The billions being spent by the Government on infrastructural projects has been described by Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Timothy Tucker as a “shot in the arm” for the private sector that is integral to economic growth.
During a recent appearance on GlobeSpan, Tucker spoke about how the Chamber supports any Government in power that is doing its job and facilitating the growth of the private sector. He noted that in the case of the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, their spending on much needed infrastructure is necessary.
“We believe in real growth. We believe that infrastructure and the spending that the Government is undertaking in infrastructure, is a shot in the arm for the private sector. It’s boosting the economy tremendously. And it’s growing businesses. And creating a lot of entrepreneurs,” Tucker said.
He noted other areas where Government policy has positively impacted the private sector, such as with local content. According to Tucker, the private sector has been lobbying for local content laws for years now.
“We’ve lobbied since 2017, for local content. Because we believe local content was one of the things that would really give an adrenaline shot to the private sector and give us a chance to participate in an industry that we had no clue about.”
“After that, we are lobbying presently for better access to finance. So that’s something high on our agenda. Trade barriers. We’ve been fighting (to dismantle) because we believe that the removal of the non-tariff barriers is important when it comes to boosting the farmers. Of course, at the current cost of electricity, that is why you don’t have a lot of value added.”
But Tucker noted that once more markets are available, agricultural production can be boosted by the demand. This means that when the cost of electricity is lowered, as is the Government’s intention with the various projects coming on stream including Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and the gas-to-shore project, manufacturing can be boosted with the very supplies.
Of course, agricultural production is intricately tied to access to market and trade barriers. Tucker noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Guyana and Trinidad is promising, because it includes many of the things the private sector itself has been calling for.
“The Government signed the MoU, like the previous Government they went ahead and signed the MoU. The good thing is and why they got our support, is because they addressed the issues or concerns. They listened to us. And I appreciate that – they didn’t have to listen to us. But they did,” Tucker said.
There are a number of infrastructural projects planned, ranging from the bridge across the Corentyne River to the new Demerara River bridge, for which a US$260 million contract has already been signed between the Government and China Railway and Construction Corporation (International) Limited.
China Railway led a joint venture that outbid four other pre-qualified international companies that submitted proposals for the bridge, which will land aback Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara (EBD), on the eastern side and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara (WBD) on the western side.
The new bridge will be a fixed 2.65-kilometre four-lane high-span cable-stayed structure across the Demerara River with the width of the driving surface being about 23.6 metres. The bridge, which features a bicycle lane, will bring an end to closures to vehicular traffic with a 50-metre fixed high span to cater for the free flow of vessels uninterrupted. The river will be dredged along a 13.5-kilometre stretch to accommodate large vessels.
Already, the Guyana Government has allocated some $21.1 billion in the 2022 budget towards work on the bridge. It will have a lifespan of 100 years. This new bridge will replace the ageing floating Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB), which has outlived its lifespan by several decades.
At 1.25 miles (2.01km), the current Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Banks of Demerara, facilitating the daily movement of thousands of vehicles, people, and cargo. (G3)