LIMIT ON AMOUNT OUTSTANDING UNDER GUARANTEES GIVEN UNDER THE GUARANTEE OF LOANS (PUBLIC CORPORATIONS AND COMPANIES) ACT
Mr. Nadir: Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the motion presented by the Hon. Minister of Finance for the increasing of the debt ceiling to cover obligations that could be made by a state corporation or a company owned by the State, at least a 51% stake in it.
For me the big issue here is what confidence do we have that GPL on its own will be able to meet its financial obligations to the Amaila Falls Hydro Power/ I think that is the crux of it. Mr. Speaker, only a few days ago you took a photograph of a historic occasion in the National Assembly where the Director and Management of the Guyana Power and Light accompanied the Prime Minister to a joint sitting of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Economic Services and the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources. The Prime Minister and those in charge of the Guyana Power and Light were making a presentation on GPL after submitting dozens of documents to the Committees with respect to the performance of GPL – where it has come from, where it is going and including the issues of governance.
The last speaker, the Hon. Member Mr. Greenidge, had asked the Prime Minister during the Budget Debate for some assurances that the subsidies, the subvention given to GPL, will meet its obligations and we do not have to come again and again. From that presentation and when I read the documents presented by GPL I have to say that one has to be impressed with the performance of GPL, especially since it was handed back to the State in April, 2003. One has to be impressed with the performance of GPL. In fact a few members said the GPL story reaffirmed what the Prime Minister said, that the GPL story is a story that has to be told because it is a story of success. This is what I want to talk about because that success story gives us the confidence that GPL can by and large meet its obligations.
The issue of GPL and its efficiencies – during the debate on the Hydro Electric Power (Amendment) Bill words were used that GPL was the most inefficient organisation in Guyana. I will tell you why I have so much confidence that GPL will meet its obligations. When one examines these documents and they are here... [Interruption] With confidence I will stick my neck out for GPL.
Mr. Speaker: Even after the blackout we had just now?
Mr. Nadir: Yes, Mr. Speaker. This is a story we have to tell that GPL... [Interruption] Once upon a time there was a GPL in 1992 when GPL had a capacity of 70 megawatts and a reliable capacity of 50 megawatts serving less than 70,000 consumers in this country. That was once upon a time and that time was 1992. Let us fast forward and look from April, 2003 when GPL was handed back to the Government of Guyana. At the time in 2003 when GPL was handed back to the current management, the Government, line losses were 45%. Today they are down to 31.5%. [Mr. Nagamootoo: Nice.] Not nice, and I will tell you why it is not nice. But that is a success story. At today’s prices for every 2.5% improvement in line losses GPL saves at today’s prices US$5 million or G$1 billion. Between 2009 and 2012 that has been the savings annually – US$5 million. Today, ten years after GPL was handed back generating capacity is 200 megawatts. All of this information is in the documents supplied and in the annual reports. We are up to date with 2012 in this National Assembly with the annual reports of GPL. Reliable capacity today is 107 megawatts with total capacity being 200 megawatts. There are about 93 megawatts that have been de-rated but could be pressed back into production.
GPL in the last five years has added 50,000 consumers. There are 163,000 customers today, not 70,000, more than double when the nancy-story started in 1992. We can translate that to dollars because in the last five years the sales revenue from GPL moved from $20 billion to $29 billion, some 45% increase in spite of the fact that fuel prices moved from 70% of total cost to 83%. So I want to agree with the Prime Minister.
I want to hand out bouquets tonight. The first bouquet has to go the Alliance For Change. First for signalling to this National Assembly they are willing to put Guyana first. The second set of bouquets have to be handed to the Prime Minister, the management and staff of GPL, and the over 800 workers who work in GPL, for providing a decent service – we are not totally satisfied – to over 163,000 households in this country. That is not a situation of the most inefficient organisation. That is a story testimony to the talent of Guyanese because this organisation is run by our own people, Guyanese.
At the presentation the Prime Minister said the IDB is pressing us to improve capacity and wants us to hire all these foreign experts. He said we do not need them to come and run it for us we need to have them continue to coach our own people.
Someone mentioned we did not have enough time to study the document. And, yes, the documents that came to the Committee are so extensive and intensive in its analysis that we are going to have to speak to the issue of Committees being supported by specific experts. But in all of us around these Committees we still have residing in us some amount of expertise. What I am seeing from perusing these documents is a story that gives us confidence that the taxpayer is not going to be burdened with a debt of US$750 million or G$130 billion. I am confident there may be short term cash flow issues but from what we have seen with respect to the numbers, the projections of GPL it says that what is being asked today in order to fulfil financing obligations, what we have seen from GPL, gives us the confidence that our taxpayers are not to be burdened with this debt. I think that is the one issue we needed to address go give some reassurance and confidence that GPL is not this inefficient organisation as described by the former Minister of Finance, but as the Prime Minister said it is a success story and we must speak to the 90% satisfaction of service that we have been able to have this Corporation deliver to our people especially in the last ten years.
So Mr. Speaker I wholeheartedly support the motion by the Hon Minister of Finance. [Applause]