Jordan blames ‘regional system’ for slow implementation of projects

Finance Minister Winston Jordan

Finance Minister Winston Jordan has blamed the regional administrations for failing to ensure infrastructural and other projects are executed in a timely manner within their communities even though funds were disbursed to carry out same.

During a recent engagement at Kwakwani, in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Jordan explained that monies are being allocated for projects in the various regions, but many times these works do not materialise. Instead, funds are returned to the national treasury at the end of the year.

“I’ve been to Linden on many occasions and some things I hear from the people, I ask myself why the regional system can’t take care of this. They have the money. Why is the money coming back to the treasury? Because the system that we have in place is that we vote monies for projects to be done during that year. If it is not done, the money has to go back to the treasury and there is no guarantee of getting back the money the following year or subsequent years,” the Finance Minister said.

Jordan said that this is a practice which has been detected in many regions and noted that the regional officers are supposed to be “our eyes and ears and feeding back information to us”.

In July, 2017, Jordan had decried the slothful pace of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had come on board to help the government improve effectiveness and accountability in the delivery of public services to citizens through the implementation of the PSIP.

Later in 2018, the Finance Ministry’s Mid-Year Report revealed a slight improvement in the pace of implementation. According to the report, this improved from 23.6 per cent on average to 31.8 per cent at the first half of the year.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had also criticised the Government for slow implementation of PSIP and at one time promised to write the IDB in Washington DC, over the alleged corrupt practices of the government in relation to the matter.

Jagdeo said these practices have led to a stagnation of the PSIP. He further pointed out that even in the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC)-controlled administrative regions, the implementation is low. At the national level, PSIP, he said is being under-implemented.