Guyana taps into Islamic Development Bank to fund “sustainable and stable” electricity supply project

Last Updated on Sunday, 9 September 2018, 13:56 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana is about to drawn down US$20 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to help finance “sustainable and stable supply” of electricity, marking the first time that this country will tap into US$900 million that have been made available by that financial institution, the Finance Ministry said.

The Finance Ministry said the US$20 million would be used to by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Utility Upgrade Programme, which is being co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, to “effect a comprehensive turnaround of its electricity distribution”

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan will sign the agreement with the IsDB on September 19, 2018 in Saudi Arabia, paving the way for the rehabilitation of 153 kilometres of Guyana Power and Light’s medium voltage and low voltage network and 6, 941 smart meters, including the associated transformers, service lines and distribution boxes.

The cash would also help fund the rehabilitation and extension of two 69/13.8KV substations at Kingston and Vreed-en-hoop including equipment switchgear, power transformers, rerouting of circuits distribution feeders and cable connections.

The IsDB loan will also finance consultancy services for the preparation of designs and specifications for the sub-stations and the site supervision for the works related to the Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop substations, as well as support the existing project management unit by financing additional specialised engineers and technicians to reinforce the existing team. GPL is the Executing Agency for the project and will operate under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

“The Guyana Power and Light has long been challenged by its inability to provide a reliable supply of electricity and suffers high levels of losses. This has been compounded by a rapid increase in demand for energy by residential and commercial users,” the ministry said.

Upon completion, the Utility Upgrade Programme, according to government, will reduce losses, realise a more efficient and reliable service and deliver a better quality of electricity for households and commercial users.

The Utility Upgrade Programme is part of GPL’s Development and Expansion for the period 2014 to 2021 which aims to reduce the overall losses in the power system.

Guyana became a member of the IsDB in 2017 and since then the partnership was formalised with a mutual commitment to a five year work programme. Since then, US$500,000 in grants have been provided by that financial institution.

Since becoming a member of the Bank, Government has been aggressively pursuing projects that will increase Guyana’s infrastructure and optimise its productivity in the areas of agriculture, trade and competitiveness and human and rural development having committed to the diversification of Guyana’s economy in preparation for first oil in 2020.