….Ministries spend less than half of budgetary allocations
Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, has reported that as at the end of June 2013, Guyana’s total external public debt stood at US$1.2B.
Dr. Singh made the disclosure in his 2013 mid-year report, which says that the external debt for Guyana is 8.1 per cent less that the corresponding period last year.
He explained, however, that the reason for the decrease in external debt stems from the second round of debt compensation with Venezuela that resulted in the reduction of the oil debt owed to that country by US$190.1M.
This is equivalent to the value of rice and paddy shipped under the Guyana-Venezuela Rice Trade Agreement from October 2011 to January 2013.
As it relates to the payment on external debt, Dr. Singh said that for the first half of the year, Guyana has paid out just about US$22M.
The US$22M in repayments represents an 8.3 per cent increase, according to Dr. Singh, given that for the same period last year Guyana made repayments on its debt to the tune of US$20.4M.
He explained that the higher total debt service payments for the first half of 2013 are primarily due to higher principal repayments to multilateral creditors.
Meanwhile, on the domestic front, the Minister of Finance in his mid year report for the nation’s expenditure by sector, said that of a total of the $19.2B budgeted in 2013 for the Ministry of Health, at the end of June only $5.4B was spent.
A part of this has to do with the fact that of the $2.3B budgeted for health infrastructure, just over $78M has been expended as at midyear.
He said that works on construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of several healthcare facilities are programmed for execution later in the year.
In the Housing Sector, the Minister reported that in 2013, Government budgeted $3.1B, of which $1.1B has so far been expended.
He reported that approximately $649.6M has been spent under the 2013 Housing Programme on infrastructural works which contributed significantly to the development of 2,254 new house lots.
Dr. Singh said that for the first half of this year, 636 house lots were distributed while another 1,540 titles were processed.
In the water sector, a total of $2.7B was budgeted, but just about $455.5M has been spent in the first half of the year.
“A major component of the (water) programme is the reduction of non-revenue water losses by improvement of collection, metering of customers, reducing leakage in the network and increasing access to treated water.”
As it relates to the Agriculture Sector, the Finance Minister reported that during the first half of the year, a total of $443.1M of the $1.9 billion allocated was expended to further efforts towards diversification.
Under Government’s Drainage and Irrigation programs, Dr. Singh said that in the first half of 2013, $1.7B of its $6.5B allocation has been expended.
It was reported also that the safety and feasibility analysis of the East Demerara Water Conservancy Dam is set to be completed at the end of the third quarter, as well as the plan for the operation of the conservancy and a detailed list of works for improving conservancy flows and discharge.
He said too that the analysis for villages along the East Coast of Demerara that are susceptible to flooding, has been completed and recommendations have been made, leading to the designing of pumps and pump stations, which is ongoing.
As it relates to public works, specifically monies allocated for roads and bridges, Dr. Singh reported that while $12.6B was allocated for use in 2013, by mid-year, the Ministry had only spent $2.8B.
He said that during the first half of the year $2.5B was spent on roads while $306.2M was expended on bridges.
Under the Air and River Transport Sector, it was reported that during the first half of the year, the sum of $11.9M was spent for the maintenance of 43 airstrips across the country.
He said that $62.7M was spent in the first half of the year, for the procurement of spares for ships and vessels.
Dr. Singh also reported that the preliminary designs for the upgrade, expansion and modernisation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) were completed and infrastructural works are scheduled to commence in the second half of the year.
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