$17.4B supplementary budget approved by National Assembly

The National Assembly today, approved a $17.4 billion Supplementary Budget proposed by the Government to offset expenses, including providing additional funding for the $25,000 per household COVID-19 relief cash grant. The sum also includes provision for capital contribution to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

Following a raucous exchange between Parliamentarians, the supplementary funds, which cover Current and Capital estimates of $8,907,613,490 and $8,495, 800,000, was passed.

The Supplementary Budget comes three months after the National Assembly passed a $329.5 billion Emergency Budget.

The Government sought $2.5 billion of additional provisions for payment of the cash grant. So far, some 153,000 households have received the grant and over 16,000 families have filled out the ‘pink slip’/query form. The requested sum is in addition to the $4.5 billion, which was passed in the September Emergency Budget.

The Government also sought an additional $4 billion for GuySuCo. Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha said the money will be used for critical capital works in GuySuCo, which had been neglected over the past five years.  It will also be used to bring operating estates to “break even” point, moving them onward to profitability through increased production. 

“You have to recapitalise; you have to put in critical parts. The entire front fleet at Albion needs upgrading. The entire roadway in Albion needs upgrading. All these things were neglected because the intention of APNU+AFC was to close the sugar industry.”

He said the former Government had promised to concentrate on production at the Albion, Blairmont, and Uitvlugt estates, but instead reduced production.

“Mr. Speaker, we will ensure production because we already start putting critical parts in these estates,” he told the National Assembly.

Of the $4 billion, $2.1 billion will go towards the Albion Estate and $518M to the Blairmont and the remainder to the Uitvlugt, Rose Hall, Skeldon and Enmore estates along with operating costs at the GuySuCo office.

Some $130 million was also sought to purchase tractors for hinterland communities. Additionally, $6 billion was approved for to facilitate payments for the advancement of the roads programme.

Some $2 billion was made available for additional infrastructural works in new and existing housing schemes.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly also approved an additional $792,330,925 in scheduled Contingency Fund advances on Current and Capital Estimates, covering the period January 1, 2020 to 21 December 2020.

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