More TV licences to be approved; APNU agrees to Linden tariff increase

More TV licences to be approved; APNU agrees to Linden tariff increase

Demerara Waves – April 19, 2012

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has announced that government will be freeing up the broadcast spectrum further to allow for more television stations and has committed to several measures to address the concerns of Lindeners following meetings with the APNU.

He made the revelation at the start of the Thursday’s sitting to consider the estimates of the 2012 national budget in the National Assembly and indicated that the move followed representation from the APNU in meetings with the president over the past two days.

“In relation to television stations which exist in Georgetown and the coast, being available in Linden and across our country, our government will shortly be granting on application additional over the air television broadcast licences all over Guyana including Linden,” he stated.

Additionally, he said the government has committed to ensuring the impending electricity tariff increases for Lindeners is done in a gradual manner and that it does not affect the most vulnerable adversely.

“It was agreed that alignment with the GPL tariffs  and elimination of the electricity subsidy was necessary. It was also agreed that the tariff adjustment would proceed from 2012 guided by the principles of gradualism and selectivity with the transition to aligned tariffs being introduced in a differentiated manner that cushions the impact on the most vulnerable consumers.”

Hinds had stated earlier this month that customers will only pay half of the bill as calculated for the remainder of 2012 while bauxite pensioners will receive the first 100kWh each month free and pay for half of whatever is over that amount for the rest of the year.

The tariff increase, set to begin from July, has seen thousands of Lindeners turning out in the streets of the APNU stronghold in protest. Meanwhile, Hinds stated in order to accelerate economic activity in Linden the government undertook to explore ways inwhic small businesses could be encouraged. This, he said, will include the reactivation of the Linden Enterprise Network to ensure affordable access to financing by small businesses in Linden and Region 10.

Additionally, Hinds said that they will be holding Bosai to its commitments to alleviate the dust problem in the community.

The engagement between President Donald Ramotar and the Leader of the Opposition David Granger has already seen the government agreeing to raise the Old Age Pension to $10,000 from the $8,100 it had proposed in the budget.

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