Berbice Bridge Company prepares to accept govt’s subsidy to lower tolls

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015, 16:44 by GxMedia

The Management of the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) has indicated that they have submitted a proposal to the coalition government, accepting its proposed $40M subvention towards reduction of the toll, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson stated that indeed the proposal was sent by the bridge, indicating their willingness to accept the subvention being offered by the government, and that the document is with Cabinet currently being reviewed. It is expected that before the end of the week, feedback will be given.

Dr. Surendra Persaud who is a representative of the BBCI’s Board of Directors, said the proposal covers multiple aspects of the relationship between the BBCI and the administration.

“Our proposal deals with the subsidy and other aspects of the relationship of the bridge company and the government, reduced into a legal framework…while it is open to be amended, government still has to perform due diligence by ensuring they agree with the clauses of the proposal,”  Dr Persaud said.

Egbert Carter, BBCI’s Chairman indicated that whilst much was said regarding the inability of the company to readily accept the subsidy proposal, there was need to first notify the shareholders and “now that they would have agreed, we can accept the proposal made by the administration”.

The BBCI had first rejected the government’s offer of the financial support on the premise that its shareholders were not consulted on the matter. The government, in an effort to relieve the travelling public from paying high tolls, implemented river taxis. This mode of transportation was far cheaper and very successful, resulting in thousands of people, including school children utilising the boats.

The government’s proposal is that there be a reduction of the toll from $2200 to $1900 for passenger cars and buses, along with a 10% reduction for other classes of vehicles. However the bridge company will not lose, as the difference of the reduction will be borne by government.

The call to accept the government’s proposal comes a week after government announced that the administration will be seeking to acquire more shares in the BBCI.