Aug 04, 2017 News
The National Assembly yesterday went into Committee of Supply where a number of supplementary financial provisions were considered and approved. These provisions were presented in Financial Paper No. 2 of 2017.
Supplementary allocations were approved for two constitutional agencies; the Public Service Appellate Tribunal (PSAT) and the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).
As it relates to the PSAT, initially, a total of $12,499,000 was voted on for the agency. However, yesterday, an additional $17,553,272 was sought under the Current Estimates to provide for salaries and allowances for the Tribunal’s chairman, two members, a legal assistant, an accounts clerk II, an administrative assistant and one cleaner.
It was noted in the remarks on the Financial Paper that previously, the PSAT did not have a Chairman or members and as a result funds are needed to accommodate the PSAT for the remainder of 2017.
Under the Capital Estimates, a total of $5M was approved as capital subvention for the purchase of office furniture and equipment for the 13 members of staff including computers, cubicles and chairs, one server, one photocopier, one fire extinguisher, two air conditioners and four filing cabinets.
As it relates to the PPC, a total of $54,173,070 was sought under current estimates. This is to be directed towards the provision of salaries for one chairperson, one deputy chairperson, three commissioners, one assistant accountant, one auditor, one engineer, one Information Technology specialist and one procurement specialist for the months of August to December.
Further, the provision caters for the payment of rent, security, telephone, electricity, water, materials, equipment and supplies, fuel, local travel and subsistence, vehicle spares, janitorial and cleaning supplies, equipment maintenance, cleaning and extermination and training for the months of August to December of this year.
It was noted that when the 2017 budget was prepared, the PPC was being established and was not functioning at that time.
This allocation was questioned by the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall. He queried the monthly rental for the building that houses the PPC. Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who has responsibility for the PPC, said that the monthly rental for the building is $1.2M.
Further, under Capital Estimates, a total of $7,946,000 was approved for the purchase of one vehicle, computers, equipment and accounting and payroll software.
Meanwhile, under the Ministry of Agriculture, $350M was approved as inflows for the Flood Risk Management Project. Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder was asked why the amount was being sought and whether the initial provision of $650M was fully expended.
The $650M was previously allocated for the construction of dams for $75M, rehabilitation of irrigation structures for $20M, construction of three pump stations for $453.52M, supervision services for $47M, institutional strengthening for $8M and $46.47M for the Project Execution Unit (PEU) operations.
It was stated in the remarks section of the Financial Paper that given the acceleration of the programme, provision for inflows under the World Bank (IDA): Flood Risk Management Project is being sought to facilitate the completion of three pump stations at Lusignan, Buxton/Vigilance and Hope/Enmore and the continuation of rehabilitation of access dams at the East Demerara Water Conservancy.
Holder was asked to provide details as to how much money would have been expended on the specific aspects of the project, however, not having the information at his disposal, the Minister committed to providing the information to the National Assembly by the end of today.
Further, $180,542,000 was approved for Rural Agricultural Infrastructure Development. This will be supplied under inflows from a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan to facilitate supervision consultancy services and the rehabilitation of a pump station at Mocha, East Bank Demerara as the pace of implementation has increased.
Under the Sustainable Agriculture Development Project, $200,098,000 was approved to provide for additional inflows under the Inter-American Development Bank loan to facilitate additional resources associated with the agricultural census.
A number of other supplementary provisions were approved. These were made under the Ministry of Business towards industrial development at the Lethem Industrial Estate. A total of $197,098,592 was approved for this purpose.
Sums were also approved for public infrastructural projects such as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of bridges along the Bagotville Main Public Road, Sea and Water Defence works along critical sections of the coastline at Rotterdam-Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara and Cottage, Mahaicony. Funds were also approved for the reconditioning of ferry vessels totalling $100M. Specifically, MV Sandaka will be rehabilitated with this supplementary allocation.
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