NICIL funds…Government cut $50B from national budget – AFC Chairman
The Alliance For Change (AFC) says that in excess of $50 billion was cut from the 2012 National Budget by the PPP/C Government. This money is being held in National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), according to AFC’s Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the Side Walk Café, Middle Street, Ramjattan explained that the NICIL account is money accrued from the sale of assets owned by the people of Guyana, and as a result, the money should have been placed in the people’s treasury.
“The biggest cut in this budget is not the $21B, but it is the $50B that was cut from the recent budget, and which is controlled by a cabal of PPP and Government members,” Ramjattan asserted. The money represents largely the privatization proceeds of Government assets.
Adding that the government which authorized NICIL to act as the ‘sale agent’ has pocketed the money in an account under its control, Ramjattan said that this has resulted in a situation where the elected representatives of the people cannot monitor or even question how the money is being used.
Underscoring that failure by the Government to add this money to the national treasury has resulted in it being cut from the 2012 budget, Ramjattan said reputable sources have analysed that over $50 Billion of the people’s money is supposed to be in the NICIL account and many more billions are being held in other accounts under the control of the PPP administration.
“We understand there were many sales of lands …to GBTI, I think that was half a billion dollars, and over the years there were a number of transactions that accrued billions of dollars. And the last report was in 2003 and there it is recorded that revenues in NICIL amounted to some $33 billion,” Ramjattan underscored.
Noting that Head of NICIL, Winston Brassington, and the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh have been tight lipped about the finances of NICIL, Ramjattan said their silence and shying away from public scrutiny is questionable.
Ramjattan said that under the economic services committee the AFC will call for an investigation into NICIL while ordering the Minister of Finance to answer pertinent questions pertaining to NICIL.
AFC executive member, Moses Nagamootoo, said that the Minister of Finance should give an account of the full transaction of NICIL and every divestment of property made and to whom and for how much.