Aug 07, 2017 News
The Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) which is described as the main mechanism for government’s capital spending, only disbursed 27.9 per cent of the PSIP’s budgeted allocation of $56.8B for the first half of 2017.
This percentage is valued at $15.8B. Despite not being close to 50 per cent expenditure, according to the Mid-Year report presented by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan last Friday to the National Assembly, the performance of the PSIP is a 19.8 per cent increase over the first half of 2016.
It was explained in the report that the PSIP is financed by both local and foreign funded sources. According to the report, the locally funded projects were constrained essentially by delays in the project implementation as a result of a lack of procurement planning, lack of capacity, and delays in the tender process.
The report highlighted that this resulted in only 26.8 per cent of the budgetary allocation of $34.6B expended at half year for the locally funded projects.
Further, it was stated that the implementation of the foreign-funded projects was also plagued by delays emanating from the late financing agreements with both multilateral and bilateral development partners and the later setting up of the project implementation unit.
“As such, a mere 29.6 per cent of the budgeted sum of $22.1 billion of the foreign-funded portfolio was expended.”
The report went on to give specific details on the funds expended on three major foreign-funded projects in Guyana. These are the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the Guyana Power and Light’s Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP) and the West Coast Demerara Highway project. The CJIA expansion is funded through the Export-Import Bank of China; the PUUP is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU), while the West Coast Demerara road improvement project is being funded by the government, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the IDB.
According to the report, for the first half of the year, $2.8B has been expended on the CJIA project, $1.2B on the PUUP and $0.6B on the West Coast Demerara road project.
The report said that despite the many constraints, Government remains committed to delivering the budgeted PSIP and has taken steps towards the improvement of the pace of implementation.
“These include increased monitoring, the introduction of a Cabinet level reporting mechanism in June 2017, and training Ministry officials from key sectors in procurement planning. Further, in an effort to attract more persons to the national pool of evaluators, a stipend of $3,000 per session was approved by Cabinet, for each evaluator.”
Additionally, monthly stipends were introduced for members of the Ministerial, Regional, Departmental and Agency Tender Boards.
In an effort to address the constraints affecting the implementation of the PSIP, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had said on Thursday during a post Cabinet media briefing that there was an extended Cabinet meeting last Tuesday involving permanent secretaries.
Harmon said that some of the permanent secretaries were unfamiliar with the procurement system which led to delays in implementation. To address the issues, Harmon said that it was recommended that Project Management Officers should be attached to the various government Ministries.
He reported that this measure is having an effect already, because some of the Ministries already have some of the officer. However, those Ministries that don’t have these officers are being assisted by the Ministry of Finance to have these officers in place so as to push the paperwork in those agencies. Further, Cabinet had committed itself to ensuring that the PSIP is implemented according to plan.
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