By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister Winston Jordan is rejecting an article published in the Friday August 7th edition of the Guyana Times which reports on an increase of the pocket allowance for Ministers from US$25 per day to $500 per day.
At a press conference on Friday, August 07, Jordan said that nothing could be further from the truth and though he made attempts to clarify the issue with the Opposition aligned newspaper, the “spurious” claim was published for a second time on Friday.
“That particular one made me choke on my coffee,” said Jordan who added that since 1993, the allowances have remained the same and instead of making changes, the new government will be tightening the leases on allowances.
“There is no document being considered for any of these increases,” said Jordan labelling the claims as “extremely spurious and bordering on libel.”
The Minister further explained that in many instances while the travel allowances for Ministers have a fixed rate, these would have been changed.
Documentation was provided which indicated that while the hotel accommodation allowance for North America, South America and the Caribbean was limited to US$150 per night, Ministers would have spent more on hotel accommodation in the previous regime.
The documents show that Former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh spent $US355 per night in October 2014 when he attended the International Monetary Fund Conference.
However, Jordan explained that this is a non-issue given that hotels would either increase or decrease fees depending whether or not it was peak season.
Going forward, Jordan explained that Government Ministers would have to provide receipts for hotel accommodations whenever they travel overseas. Failure to do so would result in the Ministers having to pay 60% of their travel allowance into the treasury.