May 31, 2013

Venezuela approves US$40m to help complete airport

The Government of Venezuela has approved US$40 million to assist with the final stages of the construction of the international airport at Argyle.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday in Parliament, that a delegation from Venezuela, which included the president of the ALBA Bank, visited the country recently and in addition to disbursing US$10 million, recently elected President Nicholas Maduro approved an additional US$30 million.

Other sums of money have been earmarked, he said, including US$20 million to be raised through the sale of lands.

During the 2013 budget address in January, Gonsalves had indicated that an additional US$80 million was required to complete the airport.

“There are things we have to pay for and those resources have now become available,” the Prime Minister said.

He admitted that although the various donors had already been identified, they were about two or three months behind where they would have liked to be.

The recent illness and death of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and then the subsequent elections were blamed for the delay in receiving the funds from Venezuela.

And a dispute between the surveyors, lawyers and purchasers of the lands in Canouan, to be sold by government, had caused a delay in the payment of the $20 million.

An agreement had, however, been reached, Gonsalves said, and the first tranche of $5 million had been paid into the consolidated fund.

The money from Venezuela and that from the sale of lands amounted to US$60 million, and he disclosed that there was a pledge coming from another country to contribute US$10 million in August, and one financial institution with international linkages, pledging $9 million.

“So, as you see, the monies are coming in on stream,” Gonsalves said.

He said that another financial institution had expressed an interest in providing US$15 million, but the Prime Minister said that this sum of money may not be needed because of the way the sequencing is being done. (DD)