-Funding sought for critical interventions of national importance
Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, December 13, 2021: Government today presented financial papers to address a number of urgent interventions across several key sectors including Agriculture, Housing and Water, Health, Education, Public Works and Security, with Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh today making the presentation to the National Assembly as it resumed for its 32 nd Sitting.
The Financial Papers, amounting to over $26 billion, include Financial Paper No 3 of 2021 totalling $5.1 billion which caters for Contingency Fund advances covering the period July 22-December 9, 2021 and provides for a number of interventions, including payment for one off cash-grants to severed sugar workers, Out of Crop support to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), cash- grants to private school students, provisions for eight containerized offices and construction of two bridges for the Brickdam Police Station which was recently ravaged by fire.
On Saturday and Sunday last, the Government commenced disbursement of the one-off cash grants of $250,000 each to severed sugar workers with Dr. Singh and Minister of Agriculture Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha spearheading the distribution.
The grant was handed over to sugar workers at four estates- Enmore, Skeldon, Rose Hall and Wales. The grant was first announced by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during a meeting with severed workers earlier this year and forms part of Government's commitment to rebuilding and restructuring of the sugar industry and providing direct relief to the people of Guyana.
The closure of the estates under the previous Government had left thousands of workers on the breadline, resulting in the sudden death of village economies where the estates were located. As a result of the disbursements, over $1.3 billion will be injected into the estates’ surrounding communities.
Meanwhile, in relation to cash grants to children attending private schools, it would be the first time that this initiative was implemented. President Irfaan Ali, in September last granted approval for the Because We Care cash grant to be extended to parents of children attending private schools.
With respect to Financial Paper No 4 of 2021, $21.47 billion is being sought, including supplementary funding of $755 million for countrywide drainage and irrigation interventions as Government continue to address the impact of flooding across the country. President Ali recently activated a Cabinet-level Task force to respond to the current rainy season, so as ensure that there is a proactive and coordinated response and mitigative systems are in place and functional.
The Supplementary paper also seeks $7.7 billion to support the acceleration of the National Housing Drive. Notably, Government has surpassed the targeted allocations of 10,000 house lots by end of 2021 and is on the path to achieving the Manifesto promise of 50,000 house lots allocated by the end of the first term in office. Relatedly, $1.1 billion is provided for the upgrade and expansion of Coastal and Hinterland Water supply.
As Government continues with its aggressive infrastructure agenda, funding is sought for the Sheriff to Mandela Road Project, critical sea and river defense works in several areas and reconstruction of bridges at Issano and Bamia. Funds for the Baggage Handling System at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) are being sought in Financial Paper No. 4 as well.
Other allocations that are being sought include medical supplies to continuously address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resources to support Amerindian Development projects and programmes, as well as funding for the rehabilitation of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the aftermath of fire in November last. Additionally, Financial Paper No. 4 is seeking funding to help clear arrears to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Incorporated and payment on the mobilization advance on the City Hall Restoration Project.
These Financial Papers, which are seeking funding for a number of urgent interventions of national importance, will be debated during the next Sitting of the National Assembly slated for December 16, 2021.