Dec 08, 2021 News
…Opposition demands answers in National Assembly for source of $8B overspending
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Housing and Water’s, Central, Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), under the auspices of substantive Minister, Colin Croal, was this year allocated some $6B for Capital Expenditure for spending this year.
That Budget Agency however, has already signed some $14B in contracts for road, and other projects—traditionally not undertaken under this ministry’s portfolio. The overspending by some $8B, undertaken by the government agency has not escaped the attention of the political opposition, and as such, the matter will be raised during the next sitting of the National Assembly.
That sitting of the National Assembly has been designated a ‘Private Member’s Sitting,’ meaning, the business of the opposition is prioritised—an occasion that obtains every four sittings of the House. To this end, Annette Ferguson, the former substantive Minister under the coalition administration—now shadow, to Minister Croal—will be using the opportunity to grill him on the source of the funding for the contracts signed.
Under the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, members of the House are allowed to pose questions to the ministers, with, or without notice in some cases, to which answers must be provided to the House. Ferguson in her question to the minister, formally tabled on the Order Paper for next Monday’s sitting—observes that “Budget 2021 has an appropriated sum of $6B under Capital Expenditure for Infrastructural Development and Buildings.”
She noted a sum of $1.3B was also allocated under the Ministry’s “Current Expenditure” for “Subsidies and Contributions to Local Organizations” and earmarked for the Central Housing and Planning Authority for Housing Development.
To this end, Ferguson in prefacing her question drew reference to reports by the Department of Public Information, in March of this year, which publicised that, “$13.9B in contracts was signed for housing development.”
As such, Ferguson has requested that Minister Croal tell the House, “”where the shortfall of $7.9B was funded from for the awarding of some $13.9B in contracts to commence infrastructural works and construction of housing units in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6, respectively?.”
This publication in March last had also reported on the contracts that had been signed under the auspices of Minister Croal.
At the time it was reported that close to 200 contracts totaling US$70 million (G$14 billion) for housing development had been inked as part of government’s drive to make available some 50,000 house lots over the course of the administration’s first term in office.
At the ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center in Liliendaal, Junior Minister for Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, had detailed that the housing areas being developed would allow for over 10,000 houses to be provided on an annual basis.
Meanwhile, substantive Minister, Croal on that occasion, had projected that works totaling some $4B would be completed by June 2021 while another $6 billion was expected to be completed in the latter half of this year. Each of the projects are at various stages of progression as the opposition finally demands answers and is now calling on the Housing Minister to provide answers on the source of the funding since it has not been clearly identified in the budget allocations.
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