Government prepared to help EWI secure funding - Paulwell
Barbara Gayle, Jerome Reynolds and Edmond Campbell - Gleaner Reporters
The Government has indicated it's prepared to help Energy World International (EWI) to secure funding from multilateral lending agencies to construct a power plant in Jamaica after one such organisation turned down the entity.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has turned down a request for funding from EWI citing concerns about the procurement process which resulted in the company being selected as the preferred bidder.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, Energy Minister Paulwell disclosed that EWI is now reaching out to other multilaterals to get funding for the US$737-million energy project.
He said the Government is prepared to help EWI to plead its case to international lending agencies if it is called on to do so.
However, Paulwell was quick to point out that the situation has not reached that stage.
Concerns have been raised about the financial ability of EWI to take on the project.
However, the energy minister remains convinced that the company can afford to take on the project.
While admitting that he is yet to see EWI's finances, Paulwell maintained that the project has not stalled.
Paulwell confirmed that he has removed the requirement for the performance bond from the licence granted to EWI and placed it in the implementation agreement.
The energy minister says he took the decision to protect the interest of Jamaicans.
The agreement outlines the commitments of both the Government and EWI to employ best efforts to ensure the success of the project.
Defined procurement functions being sought
The energy minister has disclosed he will be taking a new policy to Cabinet next week to give the minister a defined role in the procurement process.
Referring to the procurement process for the 381 megaWatts project, Paulwell said he was no longer prepared to take a back seat in relation to procurement issues now handled by the Office of Utilities Regulations.
He argued that it would be unfair for him to have the task of delivering on cheap energy when his only role in the process is to grant a licence.
Paulwell also said he now accepts that procurement has to be separated from the role and function of a regulator going forward.
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