Sep 17, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Public Works on Friday announced that a total of $8.6 billion in road works will be completed in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
In a release, the Ministry explained that some 268 contracts will soon be awarded to contractors to complete the works. The Ministry did not state the specific roads that will be rehabilitated using the funds.
The residents of Berbice welcomed the news at an Outreach hosted at the Albion Sports Ground. Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar was accompanied by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Vladim Persaud and other technical officers. Also present during the government outreach to the Region were Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall, Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Anand Persaud and Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Kwame McCoy.
It was only on Wednesday that the Public Works Ministry inked $56 million worth of contracts with 25 contractors from the village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara to rehabilitate 25 bridges in the community.
The signing ceremony was held at the Buxton Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
In this year’s Budget, the Ministry of Public Works was allocated $49.2 billion for roads but only spent $12.3 billion within the first half of the year. This is according to the government’s Mid-Year Report which also noted that of the $27.6 billion the Ministry was allocated for bridges, it only spent $1.8 billion during the first six months of the year.
To this end, Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton warned that the country should brace for a year end spending spree. Last week during his press engagement he said, “One has to recognise that Government is very much focused on corruption and one of the things that will allow for corruption is these large budgetary allocations and once you don’t have the institutional capacity, coming down to the end of the year, you will just hear about projects and money being collected and money being spent. And then, after that the money disappears, the projects aren’t either online or completed and so one has to see it also as a mechanism to create a slush fund for Government corruption.”
It must be noted that this year, the PPP Government tapped the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) for the first time, increasing the country’s annual Budget from $383.1 billion in 2021 to a whopping $552.9 billion in 2022. The increase represents a total of $169.8 billion, a “vast increase” which the APNU + AFC Opposition believes Government is not equipped to manage.
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