Govt seeking approval for $25.9B in supplementary financing from National Assembly

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh during the Budget 2022 Presentation to the National Assembly

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is seeking approval for $25.9 billion in supplementary financing from the National Assembly. This includes money for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the agriculture, health and education sectors.

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh presented Financial Papers Four and Five during a sitting of the National Assembly on Monday. Financial Paper Four concerns Contingency Fund advances for capital and current works between October 1 and December 8, 2023, while Financial Paper Five covers expanded work programmes for the period ending December 31, 2023.

Among the money being sought, almost $1.3 billion is for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), which is presently on high alert amid threats to Guyana’s territory of Essequibo from neighbouring Venezuela.

It was explained that the money is for “defence and security support”, while a sum of over $527 million is being sought for development programmes in Regions One, Six, Seven, Eight and Nine. Monies are also being sought from the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry.

“Under the Ministry of Home Affairs, over $2.8 billion was sought for various initiatives including $2.8 billion to boost the firefighting capabilities of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) including their operations in hinterland and outlying areas,” the Ministry of Finance subsequently explained in a statement.

Meanwhile, approval is being sought for over $12.3 billion for the agriculture sector, which is earmarked for subsidising local organisations and providing the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) with additional resources to do drainage and irrigation works and combat the El Nino phenomenon.

“These drainage & irrigation interventions are aimed at mitigating the effects El Nino has had on Guyana’s agricultural sector. Farmers have been demanding additional support to protect and boost the productivity of their crops and livestock and the Government has committed to providing this support,” the Ministry said.“It would be recalled as well that in November last, President Ali had indicated that as part of the $5 billion cost of living allocation, $850 million would be used for the acquisition of fertiliser to be distributed to the farmers.”

Additionally, approval was sought for money spent on the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) in the form of $643 million to support operational costs. Additional costs for security services were also covered, which went towards several regions.

Approval for funding was also sought for the health sector, which will benefit from $3.9 billion to support the rollout of healthcare infrastructure. This sum includes $3.3 billion for the construction of the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital, which the Ministry said will add “to the suite of several new hospitals as part of Government’s broader agenda to modernise the healthcare system.”

Another area being covered by the supplementary financing is the education sector, with over $530.6 million being sought for additional funding under the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan for the skills development and employability project.

The Public Works Ministry was also catered for, with approval being sought for over $1 billion for maintenance of roads, procurement of equipment and for the Transport and Harbours Department, as the country continues to undergo massive infrastructure transformation.

Funding was meanwhile sought for the Office of the Prime Minister, including more than $188 million to provide additional resources for the Linden Electricity Company Incorporated to sustain Ituni’s operation, the Mahdia Power and Light Inc and Kwakwani Utilities. Additionally, the money will go towards funding under the Government of India’s Line of Credit “due to an acceleration in the delivery of solar photovoltaic systems.”