6 months into 2nd financial year: Govt taps $6.4B from Treasury

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The coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), six months into its second financial year, has already tapped the treasury another $6.3 billion, in addition to the $250 billion Budget for 2017.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Friday tabled the first financial paper for 2017 for a period outlined between January 1 and December 31, 2017.

Parliament sitting on Friday where legislators heard of monies being withdrawn from the Treasury

The Financial Paper, No 1/2007, as presented by the Finance Minister, details the expenditure being divided into $143.6 million to be used on recurring expenditure to be used by the Ministry of the Presidency and the Finance Ministry.

Of that allocation of $143.6 million, the document detailed, $130 million will be utilised by the Finance Ministry, not only for recurring expenditure, but the money also provides for the establishment of a Special Purpose Unit to manage the reform of the sugar industry.

According to the Financial Paper, “this amount ($130 million) includes provision for employment costs, utilities, professional and legal fees, advertisements, office space, and operating supplies, furniture and equipment.”

This money has been represented as subsidies and contributions to local organisations.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan

Meanwhile, provisions have also been made for the Department of Innovation and Education Reform, housed in the Ministry of the Presidency.

The Financial Paper outlines the additional spending on this department. One of the glaring increases for this department is the more-than 700 per cent increase in employment cost for its contracted employees – up from an originally voted provision of $899,000 to more than $6.3 million.

This department is also slated to receive, under Capital Expenditure, in excess of $3 million for the provision of furniture and equipment.

Another of the beneficiaries of the largesse supplementary provisions from the national coffers is the Public Infrastructure Ministry.

While some of the provisions represent inflows from foreign-funded projects, in excess of $1.4 billion were taken from the national coffers in order to meet expenditure related to the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at $300 million, a final payment on the rehabilitation of the MV Lady Northcote, in addition to money “to meet the increased cost of vehicle.”

Other projects for which Government has expended additional sums of money relate to the construction of highway overpasses to be constructed at Houston, Eccles, Peters’ Hall, Diamond, and Providence East Bank Demerara.

According to the Financial Paper, “this supplemental request is premised on the fact that the government has successfully completed negotiations with the IDB to utilise uncommitted balances that would have been cancelled as at March 31, 2017…The final disbursement date has consequently been revised to December 31, 2017.

Another $160 million have been allocated for repair to the sinkhole project in the vicinity of the Kitty Pump Station.

Other projects to benefit from the allocations include several of the large road repairs and construction, and the upgrade of the power grid at almost $2 billion.

It was explained in the Financial Paper that the provision represent an inflow from the IDB to facilitate the payment of mobilisation advance and other areas under the programme, including the supervision of civil works and management of the project.

The bond and advances were supposed to have been paid in 2016, according to the Finance Minister, but this did not obtain.

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