The Cabinet of Government Ministers will be meeting on Tuesday with Permanent Secretaries and Accounting Officers from Government ministries and agencies to discuss the adoption of cost-cutting measures within their operations.
This was disclosed by President David Granger during his weekly televised interview, “The Public Interest.” Granger was reminded that his government had been spoken to quite a bit about cutting costs in several areas to ensure that Guyanese get the best deal possible.
However, recent reports by this newspaper had highlighted a number of instances whereby it would appear that taxpayers’ dollars were being used unconscionably, one being the rental of portable toilets by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council at a cost of $82,080 per month.
Speaking on the issue, the President said that the procurement of goods must be done with a certain vision. Personally, Granger said that he would like to see less waste. He said that when Government agencies have to expend money they should embrace a ‘green strategy’ – for example, rain water can be trapped and used, there is proper solid waste management and solar power or green energy sources are utilised.
He went further to provide a personal example where he opted to save money at State House. The President said that he is the patron for six organisations and the First Lady is the patron for an additional four.
He said that from time to time these organisations would ask the patron to fund entertainment activities and the rental of tents and chairs is very expensive.
As a result, Granger said a benab was built in State House’s compound so that money can be saved from having to rent tents.
“So we need to inject that level of thinking in all branches of public service. That is why I said that our next Cabinet meeting will include the permanent secretaries and the accounting officers so that it could be understood.”
The President said that money can be saved in everything that is done including reducing the number of overseas travels by government officials. Referencing to the Kato School, Granger said that measures must be put in place to ensure that schools are built properly.
It was reported that Guyana did not get value for money when close to $1B was spent to construct the Kato Secondary School in Region Eight.
The school was plagued with a number of defects including cracks in base structures for stairs and railings, sinking ceilings, uneven stairs and termite infestations.
Further, the President mentioned the Hope Canal Bridge on East Coast Demerara which presented a number of problems after it was built. Earlier this year $46.6M was approved to conduct rehabilitation works on the bridge.
Initially, $350M was spent to build the structure. The bridge formed part of the Northern Relief Channel constructed at Hope/Dochfour. The rehabilitation work was to correct defects at the eastern and western approaches to the bridge.
Granger emphasised that there has to be more careful supervision of Government projects. He said that the aforementioned errors were not the making of his government but they are errors that will be corrected. It is for these reasons the President said that his Cabinet will be getting the permanent secretaries and accounting officers together to adopt the vision of a more efficient Guyana.
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