Controversy Grows Over Highway Concession

After the Guatemalan Congress voted against the bill granting the concession to rehabilitate and operate the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal highway, the winning company asks to return the process to third reading, but some deputies refuse.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Although the concession was granted in July 2018 through a public tender process to the Consorcio Autopistas de Guatemala, a business group that overcame the proposals of Mota-Engil Latin America and Anas International Enterprise, Congress voted against the bill that ceded in favor of the company the use of the road section.

As a result of the refusal, the company asks for a third reading vote on the bill, but some legislators believe that this would be illegal, as the process would have to be started again.

See "Politics vs. Development"

René Muñoz, director of the Consorcio Autopistas de Guatemala (Convía), told Prensalibre.com that "... Beyond the effects that the cancellation of this project has on the development of the South Coast and the country, beyond the negative impact that this decision has on the confidence of investors in the country as an investment destination or beyond seeing all Guatemalan citizens forced to continue traveling on a road in terrible conditions, we are concerned that as citizens we accept that deputies make illegal decisions, issue votes based on anomalous and flawed processes."

Also see "Negative Message to Investors"

The group's attorney said the actions they will take will be focused on returning the process to third reading. Convía's intention is to comply with the due process of the reading for the approval or not of the project.

In response to this proposal, Sonia Gutiérrez, of the Winaq Party, explained that "... it would be illegal to discuss it again. Congress already disapproved of that third debate. It would lack legality if they take the same initiative again. Obviously, the way would be to present a new initiative again, to which the organizations here have already stated that they are going to constitute themselves as guards."

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More on this topic

Negative Message to Investors

October 2019

For the Guatemalan business sector, the decision by Congress to vote against the bill granting the concession to rehabilitate and operate the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal highway "sends a negative message to potential investors."

The first positions emerge after learning that the Congress of the Republic buried the road project to rehabilitate and administer the highway Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal with toll collection, which would be granted in concession to the Consorcio Autopistas de Guatemala, under the format of Public-Private Partnership.

Politics vs. Development

October 2019

The Guatemalan Congress voted against the bill that granted a private company the concession to rehabilitate and operate the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal Highway, which will require the presentation of a new bill to revive the road project.

Since the beginning of 2019, the spotlights were placed on this project, since in April members of the National Council of Alliances for the Development of Economic Infrastructure (Conadie) visited the Congress of the Republic, with the objective of knowing the progress of the initiative of the public-private alliance project, which at that time was in the hands of the Commission of Communications, Transport and Public Works.

Approval for Highway Concession

August 2019

After months without progress being reported in the process, the Communications Commission of the Guatemalan Congress issued a favorable opinion to the bill to rehabilitate and operate the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal Highway.

The procedure has been delayed by several months, as the dossier was submitted from 5 October 2018 and only on 6 August received a positive opinion from the Committee on Communications, Transport and Public Works.

Bureaucracy Threatens Highway Concession

March 2019

Because of the lack of progress in Congress and the fact that 2019 is an election year, there is a risk in Guatemala that the concession to rehabilitate and operate the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal Highway will not be granted.

In July 2018, the Consorcio Autopistas de Guatemala was awarded the contract for the rehabilitation, maintenance and administration of the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal highway, with toll collection.

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