No contractors yet for big India-funded projects

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017, 13:12 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana is finding a hard time hiring contractors from India to execute huge projects here because the rules have changed and the contracts are comparatively too small, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said Thursday.

“One of the problems is that there is a new system in place in India- a new procurement tendering system- which, according to High Commissioner (of India), everybody is still trying to get familiar with,” he told a news briefing.

He praised India for approving  funding for several projects- the US$50 million East Coast- East Bank Demerara road, US$4 million for pumps and US$10 million for a North West District ferry and US$17.5 million for the modernisation of three health care facilities.

One of the conditions is that the contractors and consultants for those projects must come from India but, according to the Finance Minister, that is a big  problem that has been holding up the projects. “We are experiencing grave problems in getting movement, traction in getting these contractors on board,” he said.

Jordan said after more than one year since the East Bank-East Demerara road was signed, nothing has been done. “It is not our fault. We are trying desperately to get contractors out of India. He said while the cost of the road project appears hefty, that amount is considered very small by Indian standards. “This is a fifty million. It’s big for Guyana but it’s very little for Indians so to get contractors who are interested is a bit of an issue really so that is part of the problems that we would have been having,” he said.

The Finance Minister hinted that government may have to use “other approaches to clear this logjam”. “The money is there and people are excited that we have got the money and so on but this is the other hurdle that is challenging and we’ll have to find creative ways to get around what seems to be a logjam.”