Budget 2023 is strategically promoting prosperity for all Guyanese – Min Edghill

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, in his zealous defence of the 2023 budget on Wednesday, highlighted that the PPP/C Government remains staunch in its dedication to transforming the lives of all Guyanese, ushering in prosperity and sustainable development.

“We are working to ensure that Guyana’s development and modernization is not stymied, or stagnant, but accelerated! We ‘mashing’ the accelerator. The people want development, and modernization, and that is what we are delivering,” Minister Edghill said.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill during the budget debates on Wednesday in the National Assembly

He noted that under the PPP/C Government, every Guyanese will benefit, regardless of race, class or political affiliation.

This is an assertion that is reflected through the myriad of undertakings and interventions, especially on the infrastructural front, meant to drastically improve the lives of Guyanese.  

Moreover, the minister pointed out that, as laid out in the manifesto, budget 2023 reflects the government holding up its end of the social contract with the people of Guyana.

He said in the 56 months that the APNU+AFC was in office, little was completed to transform the lives of Guyanese, pointing out that the total appropriation for miscellaneous roads was some $8.5 billion.

“All the roads that they are saying need to be fixed, they had 56 months to complete, and they didn’t. In the 28 months that the PPP/C has been in office, we have already allocated and implemented $45 billion worth of work on miscellaneous roads,” he recalled.

Meanwhile, in the overall roads programme, in the 56 months, the APNU+AFC government had appropriated and spent $52 billion, a far cry from the $83.9 billion garnered and expended by the PPP/C Administration in just 28 months.

The public works minister expressed that visionary leadership is to be credited for the current trajectory of Guyana’s infrastructure and transport services.

In detailing the achievements of the administration during these two years, the minister highlighted that in 2021, 14 coastal bridges were upgraded from wood to concrete, with 45 hinterland bridges currently under construction and being built to international standards, and more than 40 other bridges undertaken.

With reference to community roads, he noted that the 80km of community roads done in 2020, that figure more than doubled to 290km in 2022.

Further, in relation to urban roads, 6.37km of urban roads were constructed in 2020, progressing to 18.13 km of roads in 2022.

These are only two examples of the many advancements that characterised the PPP/C Government’s first two years. This trajectory is duplicated in areas of sea and river defence, civil aviation, and drainage.

Additionally, the minister assured that the government remains committed to maintaining and bringing improvement to hinterland airstrips.

Further, he recalled the success story of the Transport and Harbours Department. (T&HD) Upon assuming office, the minister disclosed that they were met with a struggling T&HD.

He made the startling revelation that no National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions were made for the staff, noting that, to date, all NIS arrears and PAYE arrears have been delivered.

In the area of Maritime administration, Minister Edghill made mention of the implementation of the FerryPass, a commendable venture that has not only reduced confusion, but has provided persons with the confidence that their place on the ferry is secured.

He said the much-anticipated M.V Ma Lisha has departed Kolkata and is enroute to Georgetown, to arrive in the first quarter of 2023. The vessel was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, as part of the Indian government’s line of credit cum-Grant project. It will be travelling the Georgetown-North West route.

The public works minister also called attention to the projects in store for Guyana through the 2023 budget, such as advancing the new four-lane high span bridge across the Demerara River, and upgrades to the wharves at Kingston and Port Kaituma, in preparation for the incoming M.V Ma Lisha vessel.

A whopping $136.1 billion was allocated in the budget to the Public Works Ministry for roads and bridges, facilitating the advancement of transport services, representing government’s intentions to build for the future.

Minister Edghill expressed, “The PPP/C, under the guidance of His Excellency, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, will continue to do all that is necessary for the modernisation, transformation and development of Guyana. Our commitment is to serving all the people of Guyana. We will not be manipulated by criticism. We will continue to work with our objective criteria to ensure adequate delivery of services to benefit all the people of Guyana.”