…will attack corruption from level of thieving gas to thieving vehicles- House hears
By Abena Rockcliffe
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan recently told the National Assembly that there is a relative link between
corruption and poverty. He said that unless corruption is at its minimum in Guyana, the dream of the elimination of extreme poverty will remain just a mere delusion.
On Friday Jordan stood to address the National Assembly for the first time. He was speaking to a motion for the adoption of government polices as outlined by President David Granger.
During his speech, Jordan said that poverty goes hand in hand with corruption, and one cannot be dealt with without looking at the other.
Minister Jordan, who expressed optimism that he is up to the task, pledged to weed out corruption in state agencies.
He vowed that the government will not be side-tracked by cries of witch-hunting but will go after persons fingered in corrupt practices in its quest to make Guyana a brighter nation.
“To tackle poverty we also have to root out corruption, we must go after this scourge wherever it exists. Whether big corruption or small, we will go after those who will transfer vehicles illegally and those who will get free gas, it is still corruption,” said Jordan.
In listing some measures already taken to weed out corruption, and strengthen accountability, Jordan said that the government has closed several dormant government bank accounts and placed the monies from those accounts into the consolidated fund. He said that in that way, the state funds will be better protected against theft.
Additionally, he referenced the forensic audits at state agencies and said that “despite the hot air being blown, the government will not be moved.”
He explained that “the audits are not only to find whether misuse or misallocation occurred but any government worth its salt would be foolish not to do this to know what they have and what they don’t.”
Further, Minister Jordan said that the coalition government has no intention to renege on its promise to establish the Public Procurement Commission, which is a tool to root out corruption. In this regard, the Minister called on the People’s Progressive Party/Civic to take up its seats in the National Assembly since the Commission would need that Party’s submission of members before it can be established.
He said that in the meantime, the new government will be tackling procurement corruption where it has control.
Jordan said, “We are going to be reforming the procurement system. Of course, we will start where we have some control and that is the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board. A new board will be in place by next week and some of the practices reviewed.”
The Finance Minister and a delegation left Guyana yesterday for Venezuela to discuss the PetroCaribe deal.
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