Aug 09, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – A supplementary provision that more than doubled last year’s additional sums, was yesterday passed in the National Assembly with the Housing Ministry receiving a significant portion of the $44.7B approved for government business set for the rest of the year.
In the absence of the Parliamentary opposition who boycotted sitting, a number of ministers sought to question their colleagues on the specifics of the additional sums. Housing Minister Collin Croal secured over $21B for additional resources to support infrastructure in new and existing housing schemes, hinterland water supply intervention, costal water supply and urban sewage and water. Responding to a question from his colleague, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, Coral said that the quality of water delivered to households remains an issue for government. On the coastland, he said only 52 percent of persons receives treated water. As such, the government is working to have 90 percent of treated water delivered to households by 2025 and that is expected to cost some $28B. To start the process, the majority of the $4.2B under the coastal water treatment line item will go toward the construction of seven new costal water treatment plants in Regions 2; 3 and 4. Together, the new facilities will benefit around 92,400 households. Twelve treatment plants are also set to be upgraded in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6 while others are set for expansion work. Under urban sewage and water, Croal said that Turkeyen and shelterbelt will see new wells being drilled, while the Linden water treatment plant will be expanded and upgraded, and the changing of century old pipes which had started in surrounding areas will continue on Sheriff Street.
The ailing Guyana Sugar Company (GuySuCo) will receive some $3.4B in addition to the $6B it received in the 2022 budget. About $2B will go toward covering the company’s operational expenses while the remainder will go toward the recapitalization of the company. In answering questions, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said that in 2020, the corporation was operating at 45 to 49 percent capacity as critical parts for capital works were missing or at the end of its life. As such, he said that capitalization sums are necessary for the company to be modernized and work efficiently. Answering a question from the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), the minister announced that at the Rose Hall estate out of 1038 retrenched workers, 692 have been rehired with a number of capital works already completed to optimize the estate.
At least 50 acres of land will be utilized for the groups of differently able persons, young people and women that will be involved in the $1.7M black belly sheep program. The Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority and hinterland persons are among those that will benefit from this program. As part of its work in leading the Caribbean food security program, Guyana will be seeking to create a regional brand that will eventually phase out the Australian and New Zealand sheep which the Caribbean has been dependant on. He said that Guyana has the land and the climate and will be seeking to have the 1000 black belly sheep from Barbados play a role in providing food security.
Under the Ministry of Public Works, Minister Juan Edghill charged that “neglect” was the reason that the government was seeking some sums from the more than $4B allocation. He claimed that pontoons at the Demerara Harbour Bridge as well as ferries used to link some regions were sorely neglected. Over $300M was approved for those items.
Despite a line of credit being available to Guyana government since 2014 for the East Bank, East Coast Demerara road link, Minister Edghill said it was not used. As a result of the delays to the project, cost came in at more than the $50M line of credit that was provided by India. The monies being sought for the road link, Edghill said, will thus facilitate government’s contractual obligations to the contractor. The road he said, is intended to prevent persons from the East Coast heading to the different areas on the East Bank to get to their location without having to go through areas that are known to be congested.
As it relates to miscellaneous roads, the Public Works Ministry received $3B in addition to the $15B received in the 2020 budget. Minister Edghill assured that his ministry executes road works at the same quality and with equity; so when the question was asked to identify the miscellaneous roads, he opted not to do so as to “avoid confusion and not interrupt social cohesion.”
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