By Kiana Wilburg
Anyone who can say publicly that budget 2018 is pathetic is a person who “is either
uninformed or point blank insane”.
Those were the words of APNU + AFC Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira during his contribution to the budget 2018 debate on Tuesday in the National Assembly.
The Lindener said that there are many things of import which command his unwavering support for the budget.
On this note, Figueira said that the people of Region 10 are happy with the $3.4 billion plus allocation it has received in the budget. He said that this continued increase in financial resources to the region over the last three years, is testament to government’s commitment to regional development.
With that said, Figueira reminded that in his 2017 budget presentation, he referred to the measures contained therein as efforts to remove some of the kinks in the economy. He noted that today, as those measures mature, Guyanese will see in 2018, greater positive strides in the journey to the good life.
Regarding the development of roads, Figueira was pleased to tell the House that the allocation of $20.8M to Region 10 for the upgrade of several roads at Mackenzie will enhance accessibility to countless residents and provide improved mobility of motor operators.
He said, “I am pleased that this year’s budget will cater to improve access to citizens of Wismar and the students and teachers of Wismar Hill primary. I am also thrilled at the investment in education at the Bamia community, where a facility for nursery and primary school students will be catered for.”
Figueira continued, “The good life certainly beckons as funds are budgeted for another school bus to further complement transportation for students in the region, thus reducing another hindrance to acquiring a good education. This is a much better trade off than a once a year $10,000 grant to a parent.”
The politician added, “All year round students will be transported free and on time to and from school. When the investment in transportation for education is placed alongside its impact in education delivery, no $10,000 per child grant from the PPP can withstand the test of time. The government’s initiative in education is a solid investment in the youth of our country.”
Figueira said that the introduction of over 11 ICT hubs across several communities by the hard-working Minister of Telecommunication, Cathy Hughes speaks to government’s commitment of ensuring that its people are not left behind in this interconnected world of ICT.
He said that similarly, the work of the Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally is being felt in communities throughout Guyana. Figueira said it is Minister Ally who has made it possible for the community of Victory Valley, once known as The Valley of Tears, to soon have a playground to facilitate a child-friendly space for the children of that community.
Additionally, Figueira said that Region 10 more than ever, is strategically positioned to benefit from the $520 million being allotted for sporting facilities and programmes to nurture the young people’s athletic abilities.
“It is no secret that Region Ten is the country’s hub for talent in the various fields of sports: we have the titles, records and world class athletes to back it up…What these upgraded facilities and the synthetic tracks will do is serve to develop the potential in our sportsmen and women. It will discover the next Shantoba Bright, Deshanna Skeet, Daniel Williams and yes, the next Usain Bolt.”
Figueira continued, “It would be remiss of me if I didn’t speak of the plethora of benefits this budget offers to our nation’s youth…Page 63 of the budget speech speaks of government’s recognition that the youths are important stakeholders in contributing to the future success and growth of this country…the $1.7 billion allocated in 2018 for youth development speaks to government’s commitment to the youth.”
With the aforementioned in mind, Figueira said that he has no reservation in offering his unwavering support for the 2018 budget.
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