An additional $2.64B (US$13M) in budget support was yesterday approved in the National Assembly as opposition parties continued to stay away from proceedings.
The ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had successfully tabled a motion for parliamentarians to work through the recess to complete a number of outstanding business. The recess traditionally has been between August and October.
However, the opposition’s People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) both refused to work through claiming that the ruling administration had plenty time over the past four years to conduct its business.
Leader of the Guyana Action Party (GAP), Everall Franklin who suffered a heart attack in April was still absent yesterday, making it an all PPP/C National Assembly again yesterday.
The additional provisions, equivalent to US$13M will, among other things, see the establishment of a teachers’ housing fund and a $450M payment to offset increased fuel acquisition costs by the power companies at Linden and Kwakwani, Region 10.
Under capital works, government had sought almost $543M.
The projects would entail modifications to the Supenaam and Parika Stellings to accommodate two Chinese roll-on/roll-off ferries due to arrive here later this year ($243M) and $100M for the acquisition of spare parts for government-owned vessels.
Another $200M is to establish a housing revolving fund which came out of an agreement between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers’ Union. There were negotiations, and it was agreed that the fund would be established by government.
The administration also asked for $2.1B in supplementary provision to cover additional expenses incurred between the period of June 2 and August 30, for both current and capital works.
The monies represented advances made from the Contingency Fund for several emergency projects, including flooding in hinterland areas.
According to the schedule outlining the list of expenses totaling the $2.1B, $104M was used to procure supplies for flood victims in Lethem, Berbice and Kwakwani; $20M will be going to Eastern Africa for relief to famine victims, while another $135M was also asked for to replace advances to the Contingency Fund for financial support that went to the Mayor and City Councillors of Georgetown “to meet outstanding liabilities, beautify the city, and clean up the Le Repentir Cemetery”.
The severance of over 300 workers from Diamond sugar estate also saw a provision of over $209M being sought. That money has already been paid out to workers who opted not to remain in the industry.
Significantly, a $10M allocation announced a few weeks ago to the African Cultural and Development Association “to finance activities in connection with the International Year for People of African Descent”, and which came under fire from some quarters, is also contained in the schedule.
Some $500M is for “Amerindian development projects and programmes”.
In Region Two, the Capoey Main Access Road, which has been a source of much complaint, will see $42M in provisions for rehabilitation. In Georgetown, $150M was advanced from the Contingency Fund for rehabilitation of additional roads.
Provisions of $30M were also made for the construction/rehabilitation of computer labs for 10 secondary schools countrywide, while $82M was being sought for procurement of critical school furniture.
It was in early June that government had asked for an additional $6.2B to pay for two new Wartsila engines, among other critical projects.
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