[www.inewsguyana.com] – Day two of the review of the budgetary estimates came to an end with the National Assembly approving a $582.4 million allocation for the Ministry of Business. The Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, faced with a plethora of questions but was able to convince the House to approve his budget.
Questions from the opposition PPP focused on the Ministry’s current expenditure for Policy Development and Administration and, Business Development, Support and Promotion programmes.
Responding to whether the number of contracted employees represents new employees or those who were previously employed in the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Minister Gaskin said that they were no new employees as they were all transferred from the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce.
Quizzed on the allocation for maintenance of buildings and which building was being referred to, Gaskin explained that it refers to the Ministry’s Head Office on South Road and the National Exhibition Centre in Sophia. He confirmed that his Ministry’s headquarters was formerly occupied by the Tourism Ministry.
The Business Minister, clarifying an allocation of $11.6 million for electricity charges when no such figure existed under that line item in the two previous years, explained that it represents electricity charges for September to December 2015 for his Ministry’s headquarters and the National Exhibition Centre. It was further explained that the estimates were based on the average rate being paid per month.
He also explained that the allocation of $12.8 million for security services represents what will be paid for such services to both the headquarters and the National Exhibition Centre in Sophia.
The Ministry of Business recently began consultations to prepare a five year strategic plan and in keeping with this, has allocated $123 million to agencies such as the National Bureau of Standards, GO-Invest, and Small Business Bureau. Of this amount the Small Business Bureau will receive 20%, which is a direct provision of the Small Business Act which was never implemented under the previous administration. Additionally, 68% of the allocation will be directed to Go-Invest for the execution of its mandate. [Extracted and modified from GINA]