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Government yesterday sponsored a national stakeholders’ consultation at the International Conference Centre to attempt to win support for the US$840M Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project.Inexplicably, the media was barred from asking any questions.“This is quite strange since the media are stakeholders. They also represent the interest of the wider society.“The media are more privy to information on the issues which they help the people to understand,” said Kaieteur News’ Editor in Chief Adam Harris. “It is the media that reported on the many issues that today form the subject of debates nationally. When the government secretly signed the Cheddi Jagan International Airport deal, the local media made the public aware. And that is only one,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys,” Harris said.President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds,Patriots Super Bowl 53 Jersey, and Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali were the main presenters. They all remained silent when Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill, barred the media.Also present were representatives of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Private Sector Commission, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association and other stakeholders. None of these objected to the barring of the media.A Stabroek News Reporter was able to ask the first and only question, but this was before Edghill imposed the restriction.One query raised by Financial Analyst, Christopher Ram, who during the forum sought answers from Prime Minister Hinds, who holds responsibility for the energy sector, was deferred with a promise to meet with Ram at some future date.Ram also told the forum that while the payments to the project contractors, Sithe Global, will begin at US$110M, they will incrementally increase to some $145M by the 13th year of the plant’s operation.Prime Minister Hinds however denied that this would be so.Hinds maintained that Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) will only have to pay US$110M annually. But he agreed to check the technical details.Regarding other queries raised by Ram, the Government, specifically Housing Minister Ali,Tottenham Home Shirt 2018/19, committed to meeting with Ram. He will bring along a team from Government at a subsequent time and forum to discuss the matters.President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Clinton Urling, queried Government’s willingness to agree to an independent analysis of the project.Prime Minister Samuel Hinds addressing the gathering. Sitting to his immediate left is Moderator, Juan Edghill.Minister Ali in response said that this was already done by the International Monetary Fund which spoke glowingly about the soundness and sustainability of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project.110MWPreceding the question and answer segment were presentations,Cheap Authentic Jerseys, one by PM Hinds, who assured that with the coming on stream of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, there will be a reduction in the tariff paid for electricity.He noted, too, that currently the electricity demand, including the coming on stream of Linden, is just about 110MW. He did not address the fact that Amaila will only guarantee 105MW, as had been indicated by Ram the previous day.According to Hinds, the project is expected to be completed in the course of four years, and by then, it is projected that the demand for electricity will increase to accommodate the 165MW to be produced by the hydropower plant.He said that Government would want to see the self-generators of electricity come back on the national grid.Minster Ali in his presentation said that only recently there was a meeting with a major airline, and one of the many questions they had surrounded the large projects being undertaken in Guyana, including the Marriott Hotel, the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, as well as the Hydro project.While there was no presentation of documents to back up what was being said, Ali argued that the project is financially sound, and further, has been a hallmark of each of Guyana’s previous Presidents.Speaking to the issue of raising the debt ceiling for public corporations that can be guaranteed by Government when it was last adjusted in 1980,Hydro Flask Sverige, he said that it was the equivalent of US$400M.Taking into account the comparison between the two periods, it should be raised to US$1.1B as against the US$750M Government is pushing for.In speaking to Guyana’s ability to service its debt, he said that in the 1980s, the external debt was as high as 73 per cent of GDP. Today it is 23 per cent.RebasedRam, challenged the figures. He emphasized that those figures could not be accurately used in a comparison given that there was a recent rebasing of the National Accounts.But Ali said that with the coming on stream of the Amaila Falls project, there will be a reduction in the importation of fuel by 20 to 25 per cent, and argued that the savings outweigh the annual payments.Minister Ali said that with Amaila in place, the electricity tariff will be reduced by 40 per cent and he sought to explain the ripple effect of such a reduction, both to households and businesses.Vocal critic of the current format for the project, Christopher Ram, poses a question to the panel.Ali added that with the Hydro Power project in place, Guyana would qualify for an additional US$10M in the sale of carbon credits.He said that the country has over time lost out in terms of several large investors, primarily because of the high cost of energy.He said the project is sustainable, viable and would serve to create wealth.To kill it, he stressed, would pose a severe problem for the nation, given the message it would send in relation to foreign direct investment.Not a Government ProjectAli said that the Amaila Falls Project is not a Government project but rather a private sector- driven one,Jerseys NBA China, with significant Foreign Direct Investment.President Donald Ramotar in his plea for a “buy-in” on the project said that if Guyana is to move from its current status as a middle income developing country to a developed country, then the Amaila Falls Hydro facility is critical.“Every leader in Guyana in the past has wrestled with the idea and the issue of how to develop Guyana further, and while this administration has managed to put in place a significant amount of infrastructure in order to move to the next level, it will require cheaper energy,” Ramotar said.“It is time to pitch our eyes to the future, not be confined to the present and allow our past to shackle us,” the President said.“The dream of hydro power and its benefits can be realized in this generation of Guyanese,” said Ramotar, who went on to state that it is because he realized the critical nature of the project, he had arranged consultations with the political opposition, and had included representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank.Ramotar expressed his surprise at the negative stance being taken. “Almost everything, if not everything, has been shared with the political opposition”.In his plea for support for the project, Ramotar also emphatically stated that “standing still is not an option; standing still means you will be left behind.”The Head of State said that Guyana’s economy is not as minuscule as previous times when debt servicing was oppressive, and added that the savings as a result of the Amaila project will be enormous.THE AMAILA FALLS HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECTSithe Global has been contracted as the developer of the project, and has already inked a contract with China Railway First Group to construct the facility.In terms of how the money will be used, Sithe Global officials had explained that the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) cost of the actual project will amount to some US$519.6M.President Donald Ramotar (far left) makes a case for the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project during the National Stakeholder Consultation.The total capital costs for the project, according to the officials, will be US$652.5M, taking into consideration additional construction, development, start-up, as well as a contingency. The remaining US$187.8M will go towards financing costs which include Interest during Construction (US$97.1M), Lenders Fee and Advisory Cost (US$34.9M), and Debt Political Risk Insurance (US$55.7M).As it relates to the actual construction of the hydroelectric plant, the officials explained that of the US$519.6M in total Capital Expenditure, the plant is expected to cost US$314M, with the Transmission Line demanding some US$126M. The additional US$79M is for currency adjustments. Interest during the construction will amount to US$97.1MThe project will include a 270-km transmission line and new substations near Georgetown.In 2002, Synergy Holdings headed by Makeswhar ‘Fip’ Motilall and Harza International were granted a licence by the Government of Guyana under the Hydro-Electricity Act for the development of a hydroelectric plant at Amaila Falls. The licence was reportedly amended and extended in 2004 when Harza pulled out, leaving Synergy as the sole licencee. The licence was again extended in 2006.Synergy Holdings was later granted a US$15.4 million contract to build the access roads to the proposed site for the hydropower plant. This contract was terminated in January 2012 because of under-performance, but not before the licence for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project was sold to Sithe Global for a substantial sum.