EU $4b for sea defences

31st January, 2014

KINGSTON - Besieged sea defences are in line for a $4b injection from the European Union (EU) but it will first require the government spending $5.5b over the next three years and fulfilling a host of conditions.

Minister of Finance and National Authorising Officer, Dr. Ashni Singh, today signed the Financing Agreement for the 10th EDF Sea and River Defence Sector Budget Support Programme, valued at €14.8M (US$19.7m) at the Ministry of Finance.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecký and Minister of Public Works and Communications, Robeson Benn, witnessed the signing. The Agreement was signed in EU HQ in Brussels by Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and Caribbean of the European Commission’s Directorate for Development and Cooperation.

According to a press release from EU, in order for Guyana to qualify for financial disbursement under the 10thEDF agreement, “the Sea and River Defence Sector would have to satisfy specific performance criteria in investment and performance targets, including detailed annual implementation plan, capacity building plan, annual condition surveys of all 160 km of manmade sea defences and implementation of an Annual Infrastructure Programme as outlined in the Sector Policy Implementation Plan. To equip the sector and place it on the right trajectory towards achieving these performance targets Government would have to invest in excess of G$5.5 billion into the sector, over the next three years before it can satisfy the eligibility criteria and qualify for disbursements amounting to €14.8M.”

The EU has been a major contributor to sea defence rehabilitation here.

The release said that the partnership dates back to the 7th EDF programme signed on 24 February 1994, at which time €12 M was committed. A further €20 M and €18.018 M were assigned under the 8th and 9th EDF Programmes respectively.

“Overall the EU has contributed about €50 millioninto the sea and river defence sector towards the construction, rehabilitation and/or maintenance of approximately 35 km of sea defence structures in Regions 2, 3, 4 and 6”, the release said.

The Government of Guyana continues to invest extensively in the sector, and over the past five years Government has invested over GYD$13.3 B.